Una Mullally, Alan Shatter and neutrality

Sir, – As an Irishman abroad and former special adviser to the foreign minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, 2016-2018, I have watched carefully the Irish Government’s response to the most diabolical act of war on an innocent sovereign European nation since 1939.

I was delighted when Ireland offered unlimited visa-free access to Ukrainians. And I have been hugely encouraged by recent statements from Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. In short, I am proud of Ireland’s response, but feel we must go further.

It is in this context that I find Una Mullally's vitriolic and overly personalised attack ("Ukraine crisis will not be solved by macho posturing against Irish neutrality", Opinion, March 14th) on Neale Richmond TD both unsavoury and unhelpful.

I have no politics in Ireland where I have not lived for 34 years but I can say that through the difficulties of Brexit and now horrors of Russia’s invasion, Mr Richmond is increasingly a powerful voice for Ireland on the international stage.


As someone who has increasingly advocated across the media for the West to do more to stop the emerging genocide in Ukraine, I particularly support his idea of simply donating Ireland’s 100 Javelins to Ukraine. In skilled Ukrainian hands they will kill, maybe, 100 more Russian tanks and save innocent Ukrainian lives. And having done this, Ireland should then look at providing military funding as Mr Richmond has also suggested.

This is the first time since 1939 we have seen a conflict that is so clearly delineated between good and evil. But this is not 1939 and Ireland is not an impoverished nation on its knees; we are today one of the wealthiest (per capita) and most sophisticated countries on earth and with a global ability to punch far above our weight.

Ireland cannot have a pick-and-mix approach to neutrality in what will be a defining moment for security in Europe.

It is important now that Ireland not only does everything the State can to support Ukraine in her existential war but also should provide international leadership that will help galvanise our partners at this precarious time for all of us.

– Yours, etc,


(former British civil servant),


Sir, – Una Mullally (Opinion, March 14th) strangely makes a personalised attack on Neale Richmond for raising the issue of our neutrality. Mr Richmond has called for a long-overdue, serious, and realistic conversation about what our neutrality means in practice.

Mullally is however correct in raising my party’s record in this area. In 1941, future Fine Gael leader James Dillon courageously said in Dáil Éireann: “It may be the policy of this government to stand neutral, but I am not neutral. I pray Germany and its rulers may be smashed by the Anglo-American alliance.” – Yours, etc,


Fine Gael group leader,

South Dublin Co Council,

Tallaght, Dublin 24.

Sir, – An Irishman such as Alan Shatter calling for a no-fly zone over Ukraine is a shameless hypocrisy – enforcement of which calls for an airforce to shoot down Russians; an act of war which will inevitably escalate ("West must call Putin's bluff and impose no-fly zone over Ukraine, Opinion, March 14th). It will play into Putin's hands. Does Shatter want to fight to the last American?

– Yours, etc,



Co Down.