John Brady TD meets with Russian Ambassador to discuss Ukraine and planned naval exercises off Irish coast
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD today met with the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov to discuss the current crisis in Ukraine, and the issue of planned Naval exercises by the Russian Navy off the South coast of Ireland.
Speaking in the Dáil today, the Wicklow TD said:
“There is no doubt that currently, the most pressing international issue of the day remains the potential for an outbreak of conflict in Ukraine.
"Earlier today I met with the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, in which I outlined the Sinn Féin position in relation to the situation in Ukraine, and the planned naval exercises off the Southern coast of Ireland.
"Sinn Féin is committed to the principles inherent in the United Nations Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 March 2014 in relation to the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
"This calls on all states to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.
"However, I believe that Ireland has a role to play in the international arena in the search for a peaceful outcome. Ireland, as a member of the UN Security Council and as a neutral nation, has the moral standing and political platform to actively pursue a course of action to push for a de-escalation of the current crisis in Ukraine.
"We must as a nation be seen to represent and to remain a voice for calm and reason. Using our position at the UN and within the EU to push for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
"While I raised the issue of the planned Russian Naval Exercises planned for off our Southern coast next week with Ambassador Filatov, voicing the opposition of Sinn Féin to the planned exercises. I have also previously spoken out against similar exercises conducted by the British navy off the coast of Donegal when Irish fishing trawlers were forced from the area by the British.
"Such exercises also carry a threat to marine biodiversity and wildlife.
"Indeed, under current legislation in Britain, the Royal Navy are required to consult with conservation groups to ensure their activities do not endanger wildlife in operations. But when they enter Irish Water’s they are under no such requirements.
"This is unacceptable and is something which Sinn Féin sought to change in amendments to the Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, which were opposed by this government.
"Ireland has an international responsibility to patrol its waters, both surface and subsurface, and its skies.
"As a neutral nation we must do so with the resources which are available to us.
"The events of which we speak have clearly illuminated the failure of this government to equip our defence forces to meet the challenges inherent in our national responsibilities.
"We must not allow this governments failing of our defence forces to become a trojan horse to shuttle our country down a road that would see Ireland become further immersed in the ongoing project to militarise the EU.
"Ireland possesses a coveted position on the UN Security Council, acquired through a record of decades of neutrality and peacekeeping. This moment challenges our resolve to step up to the expectation of the nations of the world who voted for us.”