Independent Councillor Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig has called the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from Ireland “bizarre and weak” following the Salisbury nerve agent attack earlier this month.
The decision, the west Donegal Councillor says, is “another example of our neutrality eroding.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tanaiste Simon Coveney says that Ireland is terminating the diplomatic status of a member of staff working for the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Yuriy Filatov in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The individual in question is required to leave the jurisdiction.
At last week’s European Council meeting, EU leaders unanimously agreed with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that the Russian Federation is “highly likely” to have been responsible for the attack in Salisbury on 4 March 2018, and that there is “no plausible alternative explanation.”
The expulsion is a mark of “unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom,” Minister Coveney says.
“The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent. The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom, but an affront to the international rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing,” Coveney stated.
In response, Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig is calling on Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh TD to “explain to the people of Donegal why the government has expelled a Russian Diplomat.”
Mac Giolla Easbuig adds: “It seems the Dublin government is hellbent on bringing us closer to NATO,
“Russia seems to be the new bogeyman for the west and it’s hypocrisy of the highest order for the government to expel a Russian diplomat on the word of another State while MI5 operate brazenly in Ireland and when Israeli agents stole Irish passports to use in murders in Europe there was very little fuss made.”
“There is very little support for this move and I genuinely believe that the vast majority of the people want our neutrality intact.
“Ireland has always acted independently on foreign policy but it seems this government is happy to work on the request of the EU and the UK.”