IRELAND has formally recognised the state of Palestine following a meeting of the Irish Government.

The Irish Government said it recognises Palestine as a sovereign and independent state and agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.

An Ambassador of Ireland to the state of Palestine will be appointed along with a full Embassy of Ireland in Ramallah.

In a statement, the Government said it noted the tragic backdrop to Tuesday’s announcement and again called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Israeli hostages and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

Irish premier Simon Harris said: “This decision of Ireland is about keeping hope alive. It is about believing that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security.

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“We had wanted to recognise Palestine at the end of a peace process however we have made this move alongside Spain and Norway to keep the miracle of peace alive.

“I again call on Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel to listen to the world and stop the humanitarian catastrophe we are seeing in Gaza.”

Irish deputy premier Micheal Martin said the move by the Government authorises the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the state of Palestine.

“Subject to the formal request from the Palestinian authorities, the Government will upgrade the status of the Palestinian Mission in Ireland to that of an Embassy, and authorise the appointment of an Ambassador from the State of Palestine to Ireland,” Martin said.

“Our decision today also authorises the upgrading of the current Representative Office of Ireland in Ramallah to an Embassy.

“Recognition of Palestine is not the end of a process; it is the beginning. We are deeply committed to the pursuit of peace and support for Palestinian state-building.

“Ireland has reaffirmed this commitment over many decades, through intensive diplomacy and our long-standing development cooperation programme."

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Martin added that in recent days he had had "substantive discussions" on the path ahead with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa.

"Ireland will continue to work closely with the Palestinian Authority, and our EU and international partners, in creating a political path that can stop this horrific conflict and humanitarian disaster, ensure the release of all hostages, and realise the vision of a sovereign, independent Palestinian State existing alongside the State of Israel in peace and security," he said.