Catholic priest throws red paint at the Russian embassy in Dublin

Fr Fergal MacDonagh said he was moved to act after attack on maternity hospital

A priest has thrown red paint at the gates of the Russian embassy in protest at the invasion of Ukraine.

Fr Fergal MacDonagh threw the paint while speaking on air to Joe Duffy on Liveline. Fr MacDonagh, the parish priest of Dolphin's Barn parish in Dublin, said he made sure the paint had an oil base so that it could not just be hosed off.

He told Liveline that he was inspired by the actions of Irish people 50 years ago when they burned down the British embassy in protest at the events of Bloody Sunday.

The Irish public should also consider burning the Russian embassy to the ground. “It needs to be an option while they are still here,” Fr MacDonagh said.

The priest said he was moved to act after finding that Russian forces had bombed a maternity hospital.

“I am furious about what is happening. I live in a parish with a maternity hospital,” he said.

“On Ash Wednesday I celebrated mass in the Coombe Hospital. There are children being born in underground car parks and bomb shelters in Ukraine.

“They are bombing hospitals, schools, kindergartens, people’s homes and civilians are being murdered on the street”

Mr MacDonagh said he is prepared to be charged with criminal damage if it comes to it.

“I hardly think a judge will send any Irish citizen to a prison term for throwing things at the building that represents a rogue state.”

The embassy on Orwell Road in Rathgar has been repeatedly targeted since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24th. Red paint was thrown at the pillars of the gate on the first day.

Since then graffiti has been painted on the walls including several swastikas though tens of millions of Russians and Ukrainians died at the hands of Nazi Germany.

The plaques which identify the compound as belonging to the Russian Federation embassy have been removed along with a sign detailing the working hours.

Yury Filatov, Russia's ambassador to Ireland, has accused protesters of being "rough and really aggressive" at the embassy entrance, a view denied by protesters there who say their protests are entirely peaceful.

In an interview with the state-owned Russia 24 television station, Mr Filatov said the situation in Ireland is "frankly difficult", and he accused the country of being to the forefront of "anti-Russian events" in the European Union.

Blaming the Irish media for portraying an “absolutely tendentious picture” of the Ukraine invasion, the ambassador told Russian viewers that the Irish public is hostile to “Russia and everything Russian”.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times