Ireland, Russia and UN Security Council


Sir, – Ireland’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council is supposed to be based on respect for human rights and dignity, values the Irish people hold dear. But the visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to Moscow recently raised profound questions about how far the Government is prepared to compromise those principles to secure a Security Council seat.

In fact, it beggared belief, as the Russian airforce was bombing hospitals in Syria’s Idlib and targeting rescue workers, that not alone did Simon Coveney not protest these crimes against humanity but promised to expand trade.

This is extraordinary at a time when Russia is subject to sanctions over the illegal annexation of the Crimea, not to mention its de facto invasion of Ukraine, and the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17, killing almost 300 passengers, and Vladimir Putin’s escalating repression at home.

But while all of the right things will be said by Irish representatives in New York this week, the apparent betrayal of any commitment to human rights over Syria in pursuit of that Security Council seat in Moscow recently make these lofty statements sound shamefully hypocritical indeed!

All the more so, as more than three million civilians are at grave risk in Idlib, with hundreds of thousands already forced to flee their makeshift homes, many having already fled as many as five times before to escape the Syrian regime and Russian bombing, and now living in appalling conditions as they cannot cross the Turkish border. – Yours, etc,


East Wall,

Dublin 3.