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Russia pushing for Irish Government to extend Ambassador Yury Filatov's visa

By Ciara Phelan

Russia is pushing the Irish Government to extend its Ambassador Yury Filatov’s visa so he can stay here.

His visa and ID card is due to expire within weeks and he needs the documentation renewed. But a senior Government source said that they expected that Mr Filatov’s visa would be extended.

The source added last night: “We are not planning to expel the Russian Ambassador and we are not going to do it through a backdoor way. If we were going to expel him, we’d make a big deal out of it.”

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin's Ireland nuclear threat 'horrific' as expert reveals why he's so concerned

The Russian Embassy contacted Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney’s Department one month ago, on April 13, and sent documentation to be approved for the renewal of Mr Filatov’s visa.

However, the Irish Mirror has learned that the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice have been sitting on extending the visa. On Wednesday, the Russian Embassy contacted Foreign Affairs again asking for an update on the visa.

The letter, seen by the Irish Mirror, read: “It would be very grateful if the application for ID and visa extension of the Russian Ambassador Mr Filatov would be prioritised and be considered at the earliest convenience. Mr Filatov needs valid documents to stay in Ireland and to travel.”

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “The Department does not comment on operational issues related to foreign embassies in Dublin.”

But a senior Government source said that they expected that Mr Filatov’s visa would be extended.

Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov (Collins Agency, Dublin)

The source said: “We are not planning to expel the Russian Ambassador and we are not going to do it through a backdoor way. If we were going to expel him, we’d make a big deal out of it.”

A Government spokeswoman explained once a diplomat is given permission to reside in the State by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), they are issued with an ID card with “varying validity periods” depending on a range of circumstances.

She said: “DFA issued ID cards are used to show relevant authorities in Ireland (e.g. at the airport when required, to An Garda Síochána when required, and to various other authorities from time to time) that the individual concerned is an accredited member of staff at an Embassy and has certain privileges and immunities.

“However the card is not intended in any other way to be an official form of identification or a residence permit.”

However, Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called on the Government to use this as an opportunity to kick Filatov out of the country.

She said: “The Government should absolutely not extend his visa. I am renewing my call on the Government to expel the Russian Ambassador because this is the crunch moment where the Government has a choice.

“They can either continue the visa and continue in office, this man, who has clearly lied to the Irish people and who has been dissembling and compromising on the war in Ukraine and has been taking a position that has been utterly untenable on that war and the atrocities being committed.

“At a time we are seeing 25,000 Ukrainians coming to Ireland and fleeing the war, it’s appalling that we might even contemplate the extension of a visa for the Ambassador. The choice for the Government is clear. They need to step up and make the choice and not renew his visa.”

She said it would be an “unfortunate message” to send to Ukraine if Mr Filatov’s visa is extended.

The Russian Embassy was contacted for comment.

READ MORE: Russian TV simulates nuke attack off coast of Ireland that would turn country into 'radioactive desert'

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Dive Deeper:
Taoiseach Micheal Martin hints Ireland will extend Russian Ambassador's visa
There have been repeated calls on the Government to expel Yury Filatov as a result of Russia’s barbaric war in…
Russian Ambassador visa may be extended according to Taoiseach
It was originally set to expire within the next few weeks
Irish passport panic for NI family after three month wait for son's travel document
A spokesperson for the Department for Foreign Affairs said there was 'no backlog' in applications
Russian diplomats spurned in Europe's capitals
Russian diplomat Sergiy Andreev was feeling unwelcome on the streets of Warsaw even before protesters doused him with red liquid…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Russian Diplomats Spurned in Europe’s Capitals
Russian diplomat Sergiy Andreev was feeling unwelcome on the streets of Warsaw even before protesters doused him with red liquid…
Irish holidaymakers urged to cancel non-essential travel to one tourist hotspot over 'unstable' situation
The Department of Foreign Affairs says there is a shortage of basic goods, including food, fuel and medicines
Get all your news in one place