"I'm so proud of my son Fiachra"
Gaza activist due back
by Linda McGrory
THE mother of Carndonagh man Fiachra Ó Luain said
she can't wait to "give him a big hug" when he
touches down at Dublin Airport.
Eleanor Lamb is expecting her only son home after
his horrific ordeal as part of the humanitarian
flotilla brutally attacked by Israeli forces on its
way to Gaza earlier this week. At least 10 people
were killed in the attack while dozens more were
Eleanor, a music teacher, said the past week had
"been like an eternity" as she waited anxiously for
news of her 27-year old son.
Most of Monday, she didn't know if Fiachra was dead
or alive and, due to an Israeli information
black-out, had to rely on bits and pieces of
second-hand information, before eventually hearing
the good news. And the Trenbane woman's surreal week
isn't over yet. Yesterday, she received a personal
phonecall from the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and urged
him to impose the strictest of sanctions on Israel.
"When I heard the news
early on Monday that the flotilla had been attacked
I was absolutely distraught. The Israelis had cut
all communication and all I knew was that Fiachra
was on one of the lead boats," she said.
Eleanor then had to wait hour, after anxious hour,
before learning that, while his ship Challenger II,
was boarded by the Israeli stormtroopers, Fiachra
was not among the dead. She has now also been
officially informed that neither was he injured in
the horrific attack.
An official from the Irish Embassy in Tel Aviv,
Conor Long, visited Fiachra and other Irish
detainees in an Israeli prison on Tuesday and rang
her soon afterwards to say he was safe and well.
"Conor Long rang me and told me Fiachra was in good
spirits considering what he had been through," she
Eleanor is currently
staying in Co Offaly, caring for her parents, both
in their 90s, in Clara - hometown of Mr Cowen.
"I left a message for Brian Cowen and in fairness to
him, he called me back. He assured me the Government
was doing everything in its power to make sure the
Irish get home safely. I asked him what steps he
would take afterwards to sanction Israel and I also
urged him to deport the Israeli ambassador and all
his staff from Ireland." She also wants Ireland to
implement an immediate boycott of Israeli goods.
Fiachra and dozens of
other detainees were being flown from Israel
yesterday to Istanbul, Turkey, for onward flights to
their respective countries. Eleanor was expecting
her son to touch down last night or
And while he is
expected to travel with his mother to his
grandparents' Clara home, she hopes the two will
still make it to a wedding in Carn this Saturday.
Eleanor said she was extremely grateful for the many
messages of support from all over Ireland including
Inishowen. And, asked if Fiachra, a former EU
election candidate, might put himself forward again
politically including a run for the Dáil, Eleanor
said "anything is possible". "He could well do that
and I would support him in any decision he makes.
After this ordeal, I know he will be more determined
than ever to tackle issues of social injustice and I
am very, very proud of him." For now though, her
only thought is of getting her courageous son back
in her arms. "I just can't wait to give him a big
hug," she beamed.