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Taoiseach Micheal Martin hints Ireland will extend Russian Ambassador's visa

By Ciara Phelan

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has indicated that the Government will extend the Russian Ambassador’s visa.

The Irish Mirror revealed today that Yury Filatov’s visa is due to expire within weeks and the Russian Embassy has written twice to the Department of Foreign Affairs asking for it to be extended so he can remain in Ireland.

There have been repeated calls on the Government to expel Mr Filatov as a result of Russia’s barbaric war in Ukraine.

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

Despite being asked repeatedly whether the Government would renew the Russian Ambassador’s visa, Mr Martin would not say explicitly if he expected the Government to renew the visa.

However, he said: “The Government’s position in relation to the diplomatic relationship between the Russian Federation and Ireland still stands.

“I don’t ordinarily get involved in these applications.

“We’re working in collaboration with the other EU Government’s approach to Russia’s illegal and very immoral war on the people of Ukraine.

“And we’ll work with our EU colleagues to keep the pressure on Russia to stop this terrible war which is having a terrible impact on the people of Ukraine and has caused historically the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

“We don’t get into the visa side, if we're going to do something it’d be on a policy basis.

“The issue about the Ambassador is a policy issue... I made it very clear our position still stands.”

But Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has come out and said “we should keep him” when he was asked about the possibility of not extending Mr Filatov’s visa.

He told Pat Kenny on Newstalk: “I know that’s a difficult argument to make but the reason we should keep him is even in such appalling circumstances we are now in, countries do need to talk to each other.

“We’ve Irish people in Russia.”

Minister Donohoe said if Ireland was to turn down Mr Filatov’s application for continued residency here, the idea that Russia would just send over someone else “is an assumption” and it would be “unlikely,” that would happen.

He said: “We’ve Irish people in Russia, Irish people in any other country, particularly in one which is involved in the invasion that has taken place in Ukraine but Irish people are still there [in Russia], they need diplomatic representation.

“They could need our help sometime in the future and that’s why I want Irish diplomats in Russia, Irish diplomatic staff that could be of help to Irish people and if I’m willing to acknowledge that then I also have to acknowledge that the quid pro quo, despite the frustration and reaction we can have to the points that have been made to the Ambassador, is that an Ambassador does have the right to be here in Ireland.”

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.

But the Irish Mirror 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.”

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Dive Deeper:
Russian Ambassador visa may be extended according to Taoiseach
It was originally set to expire within the next few weeks
Russia pushing for Irish Government to extend Ambassador Yury Filatov's visa
Exclusive: Yury Filatov’s visa and ID card is due to expire within weeks
Russia-Ukraine war: Indian embassy to resume operations in Kyiv
Considering the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine, including attacks in the western parts of the country, the Indian Embassy in…
Envoy says Russian diplomats in U.S. are threatened, enticed by FBI
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and U.S. intelligence services try to make contact with them, Tass…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
G7 to continue economic pressure on Russia, tackle 'wheat war'
Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to reinforce Russia's economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine…
WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Moscow extended by one month
US basketball star Brittney Griner has her pre-trial detention in Russia lengthened, with her lawyer saying the relatively short extension…
Get all your news in one place