Councillor withdraws boycott motion

A proposal to boycott trade and investment with companies which work with Israeli settlements in the West Bank has been ditched by local councillors.

Members of Newry and Mourne District Council in Northern Ireland were expected to vote on a motion at a meeting last month, but initially postponed the decision until September.

Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor Connaire McGreevy had proposed banning all "trade and investment" because of "Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories".

It is now understood that he has withdrawn the motion entirely after claiming its "original intent and sentiment...has been lost".

Mr McGreevy said he has met constituents to explain that the plan was "never intended to be a Palestine versus Israel motion but no more than a fair trade motion".

He is also due to meet members of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group.

The original delay was forced on the council after the UK Lawyers for Israel group warned that a boycott could be in breach of equality legislation.

Last updated: 5:36pm, August 2 2013