Trinity students call for boycott of Eurovision 2019

The group are marching to RTE studios this afternoon to protest Ireland’s involvement in the competition

Trinity students have today marched to RTE studios to call for the boycotting of the Eurovision 2019 song competition. The students marched as part of a protest organised by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the studios opposing Ireland’s involvement in the competition.

Students gathered outside House 6 this morning and marched to the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook. The protest was originally intended to be held prior to the announcement of Ireland’s entrant in the competition. However, RTÉ have since announced Sarah McTernan, a former contestant on the Voice of Ireland, as Ireland’s entrant.

According to the group’s social media, it hopes to “amplify the Palestinian call for a boycott of the Eurovision on anti-apartheid grounds and will add out voices, as students to the growing numbers already demanding that RTÉ pull Ireland out of the competition”.

The group stated its belief that “Israel are using the Eurovision to whitewash apartheid, occupation and the murder of Palestinians”. Noting Ireland’s “proud history of standing up to apartheid and of course [sic] colonialism”, they called on people to “honour that history by demanding Ireland play no part in Eurovision 2019 or legitimising the racist state of Israel”.

Speaking to Trinity News, member of Trinity’s Boycott Divestment and Sanctions in Israel (BDS) campaign Conchúir Ó’Ráidigh explained that “despite thousands of petitions and fairly intense public pressure, RTE announced the name of the act they’ll be sending to represent Ireland in Eurovision 2019, confirming Ireland’s participation in the competition”. According to Ó’Raidigh, the group is protesting because it “hear[s] and respect[s] the call for a boycott  from Palestinian civil society groups and from Palestinian refugees around the world”.

“The Eurovision is being used by Israel to whitewash its crimes – as a country with a proud anti-colonial heritage and a more recent history of support for anti-apartheid struggles, we should not be tarnishing that legacy by legitimising Israel and its subjugation of the Palestinian people,” he continued.

He also recognised Trinity student support for this movement and recalled that “last year thousands of students voted to support BDS in Trinity, indicating the strong support and solidarity young people hold for Palestine, we’re going to the protest today representing that spirit”.

The march also saw involvement from branches of Students for Justice Palestine (SJP) in Maynooth University (MU) and Dublin City University (DCU), and DCU Vote Yes to BDS.

The Eurovision Song Contest is to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, following their victory in the 2018 competition in Portugal. The competition saw Netta perform her song “Toy”, lifting the trophy for Israel with a total of 529 points. The move has led to various student-led and national groups calling for a boycott of the event, often alongside a full boycott of Israel.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister Law student, and a former Deputy News Editor.