Visa renewal for Russian ambassador to Ireland

Numerous calls have been made for expulsion of Yury Filatov because of Ukraine invasion

Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov was yet again the subject of colourful Dáil exchanges. File photograph: The Irish Times

Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov was yet again the subject of colourful Dáil exchanges. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has indicated that Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov will have his visa renewed.

There have been numerous calls for Mr Filatov to be expelled because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But independent TD Danny Healy-Rae said in a Dáil debate on Thursday that Mr Filatov should remain in Ireland.

“If Putin or Russia do anything to our people, this fellow should be the first fellow to be targeted. Lock him up and throw away the key and throw an odd bite into him now and then,” said Mr Healy-Rae

Speaking after the launch of a housing development in Co Kildare, Mr Martin said he was not personally familiar with the details of Mr Filatov’s visa application.

He reiterated that any proposal to expel the Russian ambassador or not to grant him a visa extension should be taken at EU level.

“If we decided to do something, we would do so on a policy basis,” he said.

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

“We are working in collaboration with other EU countries in our approach to Russia’s illegal and very immoral war on the people of Ukraine. We will work with our EU colleagues to keep the pressure on Russia to stop this terrible war which has caused historically the worst humanitarian crisis since the second World War,” added Mr Martin.

A report in the Irish Mirror on Friday stated that officials in the Russian embassy had written to the Department of Foreign Affairs twice in recent months seeking to have Mr Filatov’s visa renewed.

The paper states that the embassy wrote on April 13th and then again last week asking for the visa to be extended so the envoy can stay in Ireland. A letter from the embassy requested that his visa application be “prioritised and be considered at the earliest convenience.”

Embassy feels the heat

Previously the embassy, which is in Orwell Road in Dublin had warned it was running out of heating oil because no one would supply it. But Mr Filatov told The Irish Times two weeks ago that a supplier had been found.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that the ambassador should remain despite Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

“This is a difficult argument to make and the reason we should keep him is that even in such appalling circumstances as we are now in, countries do need to talk to each other,” said Mr Donohoe.

“Irish people are still there [in Russia]. They need support, they need diplomatic representation, they could need our help at some point in the future and that’s why I want Irish diplomats in Russia.

“I want Irish diplomatic staff who can be of help to Irish people. And if I’m willing to acknowledge that, then I also have to acknowledge that quid pro quo, despite the frustration . . . is that an ambassador does have the right to be here in Ireland.”