The hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 has been one of the most contentious in recent memory — and the contest is still nearly a year away. Immediately after Israel won in Lisbon, calls for boycotts and the removal of Israel’s right to host began spreading. And now that Israel has been confirmed as host country, the controversy is sure to not slow down anytime soon. The Associated Press — the global news behemoth — ran a story on Friday that summed up the news: “Jerusalem backlash casts shadow over Eurovision.”
Amongst the countries where some politicians have been most vocal about boycotting is Ireland. However, Irish fans hoping to see their country participate next year now have some good news. Tanaiste Simon Coveney — the country’s Deputy Head of Government — has stated that Ireland intends to participate in the contest next year. He said that boycotting the contest would “polarise things even further” and not advance the Palestinian cause.
The Tanaiste was responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who was advocating a boycott, “in order that we do not give legitimacy to a regime that treats children in such a barbaric fashion”.
Ireland and Eurovision 2019
This continues a saga that began as soon as the winner of Eurovision 2018 was announced. Less than a day after Israel won Eurovision, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Micheal Mac Donncha, called for a boycott. He was soon joined by fellow politicians Lynn Boylan and Nessa Childers, and 1994 Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan. Several other prominent names in Ireland also called for a boycott, as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Mr Coveney’s words follow those of 1992 Eurovision winner Linda Martin, who stated that Ireland should not withdraw next year. Ultimately, the decision rests with the national broadcaster RTE, who have competed every year since 2002. The last two occasions when Israel hosted the contest, in Jerusalem in 1979 and 1999, Ireland placed 5th and 17th. An official confirmation will need to be made before anyone can be sure whether Ireland will participate next year.
This year’s contest saw Ireland reach the Final for the first time since 2013, and gain a solid 16th placing.
So what do you think? Do you think Ireland should boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel? Would you like to see Ireland participate next year? Do you agree with the Tanaiste Simon Coveney? Let us know below!