Leader of Irish Delegation to the Council of Europe, Joe O’Reilly TD, calls for Religious Equality in Egypt.

Speaking during the session entitled ‘Crisis of Transition to Democracy in Egypt’ at this morning’s Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Leader of the Irish Delegation and Fine Gael TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Deputy Joe O’Reilly called for continued monitoring of the situation on Egypt.

‘I welcome the election of Mr Mohammad Morsi, his election as President is a huge breakthrough and achievement for Egypt. I hope that there are practical expressions to his assertion and commitment to be the President for all people and I believe that therein lies the issue at hand. I would strongly support our Rapporteur, Mr Jean-Charles Gardetto from Monaco’s remark, that the situation in Egypt should continue to be monitored. The first objective for Egypt, I feel, should be to rebuild their Tourism industry; this will go a long way to aiding the restructuring of internal economic activity. It is an important objective not only for the people of Egypt but for the wider global community’ stated the Deputy.

Commenting on his concerns about Religious tolerance in Egypt the Deputy said ‘I firmly believe that the first step into Social Integration that President Morsi needs to take is to promote religious tolerance and advocate freedom of religious worship for all citizens of Egypt. There are currently over 100,000 Christians living in Egypt and any form of State oppression towards them needs to be removed. If State oppression is removed then this with filter down into people’s social consciousness’ and any Sectarianism that exists will disappear. Christians make up 10% of the population in Egypt, this is a very significant figure and European support is a must’.

‘As members of the European Union, we should not be shy to remind ourselves that we as Europeans have freedom of worship and expression. It is therefore reasonable that with that moral authority we should call for this in Egypt. The message that we should be sending is that we demand freedom of religious expression, enforcement of rights for women and removal of sexual violence of all types. If these issues can be addressed in Egypt, then I believe that they will begin to make social progress’ he concluded.


Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website