Clare Daly added to list of alleged Russia propagandists by Ukraine’s security service

Irish MEP accused of spreading false narratives about Nato and sanctions

Clare Daly, along with fellow Irish MEP Mick Wallace, has been a vocal critic of EU and Nato policy on Ukraine. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ukraine’s security agency has placed Clare Daly on a list of public figures who promote Russian propaganda in light of the Irish MEP’s statements on the Russian invasion

Ms Daly appears alongside several dozen figures, including French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, former US Democratic presidential nominee Tulsi Gabbard and firebrand journalist Glenn Greenwald. The list, titled “speakers who promote narratives consonant with Russian propaganda”, was published by the Centre for Countering Disinformation, a unit of the national security and defence council of Ukraine which is headed by president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

It includes people from across the political spectrum who have shared what the Ukrainian government considers to be harmful narratives. These include suggestions by some on the list that Ukraine or Nato is at fault for the war and the falsehood that the Ukrainian government is dominated by fascists.

Ms Daly, who is the only Irish figure listed, is accused of spreading two narratives: that “sanctions against Russia make innocent people suffer” and that the Ukrainian conflict is “a proxy war between Nato and Russia”.

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Along with fellow Irish MEP Mick Wallace, Ms Daly has been a vocal critic of EU and Nato policy towards Ukraine. Before the outbreak of the war she said the Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s border was “clearly defensive” and that it would not invade. Following the invasion she came out against Russian sanctions and in March 2022 voted against a European Parliament resolution condemning the invasion, positions which have earned her praise on Russian media. In an article about the resolution published in The Irish Times in March, Ms Daly and fellow MEP Mick Wallace wrote that they supported clauses condemning Russian aggression during votes on amendments to the European Parliament resolution but voted against the overall resolution because of concerns about various issues including the provision of military equipment and weapons to Ukraine, increased defence spending and opening the energy market to fracked liquefied natural gas from the United States*

On Tuesday, Ms Daly accused Ukraine’s government of carrying out a “smear campaign against international figures who refuse to toe the line”. She accused the government of being increasingly repressive and said the recent purging of alleged pro-Russian elements of its security services was “McCarthyist”.

“Now comes an attempt at a ‘blacklist’ issued by a government propaganda department,” she told The Irish Times.

The list includes a diverse range of people with nothing in common politically except that they are critical of Nato and the West’s policies towards Ukraine, she said.

“But that is what a free and open discussion in a democratic society looks like. Ukraine trying to shut it down is a mirror image of the repressive behaviour we rightfully criticise in Russia. We shouldn’t be encouraging it.”

Ms Daly and Mr Wallace were also recently criticised in a report from the Syria Campaign, a human rights organisation, for helping to spread conspiracy theories about atrocities committed by the Assad regime. The report, citing research from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said Mr Wallace used an EU committee to amplify claims that the 2018 chemical attack launched by Assad forces on Douma in Syria “most likely was staged with the help of the White Helmets”. It said Ms Daly has spread similar claims.

*This article was amended on Thursday, August 4th, 2022 to reflect Ms Daly’s previous statement that while she voted against the European Parliament’s resolution for various reasons, she voted in favour of clauses condemning Russian aggression during votes on amendments.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary is Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times