Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris
Irish Prime Minister Simon HarrisReuters/Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized Ireland’s new Prime Minister, Simon Harris, after he failed to mention the hostages being held by Hamas during his first speech after being elected leader.

Harris had used his first speech to condemn Israel's war in Gaza and said that "men, women, and children are being slaughtered" there, though he also said lawmakers that the Irish government has "not been silent on the unforgivable terrorist actions of Hamas" on October 7.

In response, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “Simon Harris, the new Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, chose to refer to the war in Gaza in his inaugural address but ‘forgot’ to mention the 133 Israeli hostages who have been rotting in Hamas tunnels for the past six months.”

“The Taoiseach joined Micheál Martin, his Minister for Foreign Affairs, in planning to award additional prizes to terrorism, in the form of an ICJ declaration of intervention on the side of South Africa, the legal arm of the Hamas terrorist organization, and the possible recognition of a Palestinian state in the future,” the statement added.

“After the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and even after the war crimes, the crimes against humanity and the sexual crimes that were committed, and are still being committed, by Hamas terrorists against Israeli women and men, there are those in Ireland who persist on being on the wrong side of history.”

“The State of Israel will continue to protect its citizens, acting in accordance with international law, and will keep on striving to bring home the 133 men and women being held hostage and to bring down the Hamas terrorist organization, so that October 7th will not be repeated,” the statement concluded.

Relations between Israel and Ireland have been tense in recent years. Former Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar recently launched a tirade against Israel, accusing the country of becoming "blinded by rage" as it doubles down on plans to launch a ground offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Varadkar previously caused an uproar in November, after he said that nine-year-old Emily Hand, a dual resident of Ireland and Israel who was freed from Hamas captivity, “was lost [and] has now been found and returned.

However, no mention was made of the fact that Hand was held by Hamas terrorists for 50 days, or of the attack they perpetrated in Israel on October 7 when they abducted Hand and more than 200 other people.

President Isaac Herzog later responded to Varadkar’s comments and said that "the statement by the Prime Minister of Ireland regarding the release of Emily Hand was unacceptable. Emily was not lost. Emily was not out for a walk and lost her way. Emily was kidnapped at gunpoint by monstrous and vile murderers, and was held in captivity without any connection with her family, with the world, not even with the Red Cross."

Earlier this week, Irish Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said that formal recognition of “Palestine” by Ireland “will happen”.

Ireland, together with Malta, Slovenia and Spain, recently announced that they had agreed to take initial steps towards recognizing a Palestinian state.