Belfast Telegraph

IRA bomb man among academics in boycott Israel call

By Rebecca Black

A man jailed for possessing IRA bombs has called for a boycott of Israeli institutions.

Dr Feilim O hAdhmaill, a lecturer at University College Cork (UCC), is among a group of academics who have pledged to boycott Israel's "illegal occupation" of Palestinian land in a letter to this newspaper.

The group includes a number from Queen's University, Ulster University and St Mary's University, as well as institutions in the Republic of Ireland.

Birmingham-born O hAdhmaill has intimated in talks that he became involved with the IRA when he was just 16.

He was arrested in 1994 at the age of 36 in Preston after being caught in possession of 17kg of Semtex explosive, and was convicted for possession of explosives and conspiracy to cause an explosion at the Old Bailey in London, and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.

However, he served just four years as he was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Previously he was charged with the murder of an RUC constable in the early 1980s, although the charge was dropped.

His name was one of a number of academics who signed a pledge to boycott Israel. Among the declarations was to refuse invitations to visit Israeli institutions, act as a referee for any of their processes, participate in conferences funded, sponsored or organised by them and generally refuse to co-operate.

The rationale was explained as feeling "deeply disturbed by Israel's ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement".

Those who signed said they are "disturbed by the involvement of Israeli higher education institutions in Israel's military and security industries, by EU institutional involvement in funding Israeli research and by the research and development collaboration between Irish and Israeli higher education institutions".

They have, however, said they will work with their Israeli colleagues in their "individual capacities", and at the same time put in place strategies of "political and practical support for Palestinian universities, academics and students".

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