Campaigners call on Ireland to boycott next year's Eurovision in Israel

Activists and musicians will gather at Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge this morning to launch the campaign

Campaigners call on Ireland to boycott next year's Eurovision in Israel

The 10 artists who qualify to the Final celebrate on stage during the first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Picture by: Pedro Fiuza/Zuma Press/PA Images

Updated 2pm

Musicians and political activists have joined forces to call for a boycott of next year's Eurovision.

Critics say no Irish entry should be sent to Israel in 2019 in protest over the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Demonstrators, including Senator David Norris, gathered at Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge this morning, calling on Ireland to not send an entry to next year's song contest.

Pictured are Celebrities and public figures gathering at Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge for a photocall to launch the Irish Call to Boycott Eurovision 2019. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised the event - with the group arguing that "Ireland must play no part in the art-washing of Israeli oppression".

More than 3,300 have signed a petition calling for an Irish boycott.

Charlie Mc Gettigan from Leitrim won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 with the song Rock 'n' Roll Kids.

Speaking ahead of this morning's event in Dublin, he told Newstalk Breakfast that the Eurovision has a history of protest songs - insisting it's 'not just frivolity'.

The musician argued: "It's very obvious what's going on in Israel at the moment - it's very public... We have a chance now to protest about it.

"I'm not saying we should not have the Eurovision... but I think we shouldn't have it there."

A number of politicians have already called on the State to boycott Eurovision 2019.

At its Ard Fheis earlier this month, Sinn Féin called on RTÉ and other European broadcasters to boycott the Eurovision next year, accusing Israel of "ongoing and grievous violations of international law and international humanitarian law".

While Tánaiste Simon Coveney has vocally criticised Israel for the recent violence along the Gaza border, he has suggested that a boycott would "polarise things even further" in the region.

"I do not believe boycotts and protests alone will solve this issue," he told deputies in the Dáil last week.

Minister Coveney added: "I need to remain an influential and vocal advocate for positive change in Israel and Palestine within the EU and among the countries that have influence on getting results."