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Ward voices support for Basketball Ireland amid controversy around upcoming match

8th February 2024 - Senator Barry Ward

A Fine Gael Senator has criticised the position that Basketball Ireland’s national women’s team has been put in.

Senator Barry Ward said that “it is regrettable that the athletes of Basketball Ireland have been placed in this position. Sport should not be politicised, and our athletes should not be burdened with political controversies beyond their control.”

Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Ward expressed concern over the behaviour of members of Israel’s women’s basketball team in their accusation of anti-Semitism against the players of Basketball Ireland. Such accusations are devoid of any basis in truth and only serve to escalate tensions and foster divisiveness.

“Opposition to Israel’s policies does not mean anti-Semitism.”

“While it is important to acknowledge the serious prevalence of anti-Semitism in our world, it is crucial to discern baseless claims from those rooted in validity,” said Senator Ward. “Accusations without merit only dilute the gravity of genuine instances of anti-Semitism, which must be confronted earnestly in our society.”

Senator Ward said that he deeply regrets the undue burden placed upon Basketball Ireland in navigating this situation.

“Politics and sports must remain separate entities, and it is unfortunate that the team has been drawn into this controversy.”

Senator Ward supports the Irish athletes and coaches as they uphold the spirit of fair play and competition amidst challenging circumstances and understands the decision that Basketball Ireland has made to play the fixture.

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