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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
David Kent & Louise Burne

Taoiseach responds in Dáil as Russia puts him and other Irish politicians on 'stop list' and blast Government over Ukraine stance

52 Irish politicians have been banned from entering Russia under new sanctions announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry - including Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and the Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl

In a statement, the Ministry blasted the "anti-Russian course" of the Government, which has led them to placing the 52 representatives on the "stop list".

They also referenced the attack on the Russian Embassy in March, just weeks after their illegal invasion of Ukraine had started.

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The Ministry said: "In response to the anti-Russian course of the Irish government, which unconditionally supports the unilateral restrictive measures introduced by the European Union against Russian citizens aimed at attempts to isolate our country internationally, a decision was made to include 52 key representatives of the leadership and politicians of Ireland in the Russian "stop list".

"The list of Irish citizens who are no longer allowed to enter the Russian Federation includes, in particular, Prime Minister M. Martin, his deputy L. Varadkar, Chairman of the Dail (lower house of parliament) S. O'Fearghail, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense S. Coveney, Minister of Justice H. McEntee, Minister of Finance P. Donohoe, as well as a number of senators and deputies of the lower house of parliament."

They continued: "Acting under the dictation of Brussels, Ireland is conducting an aggressive anti-Russian propaganda campaign, a course has been taken to curtail bilateral cooperation to the detriment of its own interests.

"One of the consequences of fueling Russophobic hysteria in Irish society was the attack on the Russian Embassy in Dublin in March of this year.

"With regard to our other measures, we will be guided by the position of Dublin."

When asked about appearing on the list in the Dáil by Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, the Taoiseach said that he was not aware of the development.

“I don’t think I’ve been sanctioned before,” Mr Martin said.

“I need to be updated on that and see what the implications of that are.

“It is part of a broader propaganda war being raged by Russia.”

In the Dáil, People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barrett responded to the news that Irish politicians had been banned from Russia claiming it suggested that Ireland had “abandoned a position of neutrality”.

He also said Ireland’s comments and actions were “effectively endangering the Irish Defence Forces”.

The Taoiseach said that he was “disturbed” by the comments as the TD had “effectively justified that Putin had sanctioned my good self and others”.

“You said it is a worrying sign in terms of the reputation of this country as a neutral country,” Mr Martin said.

“No, it’s not. [You’re saying,] ‘Taoiseach you should be worried as Putin sanctioned you.’

“I don’t know where you’re coming from, Deputy.

“I think you should withdraw any implication that Putin sanctioning the Taoiseach of the day in this country is somehow confirmation that Ireland is not neutral.

“We are military neutral, We are not protagonists in this war.”

The Taoiseach later tweeted: “I will make no apology for speaking the truth about Russia’s immoral and illegal war. We stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Justice Minister Helen McEntee, who appears on the list of politicians banned from Russia, said that she stands by any comments she has made about Russia.

“I stand behind anything that I've said in relation to Russia and the ongoing barbaric and illegal war that's being waged on Ukraine,” she said.

“Like my colleagues, I stand fully behind the people of Ukraine.

“Whatever comes with that, the decision by the Russian Government, that is their decision.

“It certainly will not change my view and my position and the fact that we need to support Ukraine and all of their citizens in any way that we can.”

The list has been a talking point in Leinster House, as other TDs and Senators question who is on the full list of 52 banned politicians.

A number have joked that they “hope they are on it” as they told The Mirror about the things they have said about Russia and the war in Ukraine.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has also responded to the sanctions. Taking to Twitter, he said: "Ireland will be making no apology for being on the side of International law, the UN Charter, the side of Ukraine and the right side of history.

"Russia should end its illegal war of aggression, stop killing innocent civilians & shelling of infrastructure."


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