PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT / Solidarity TDs did not clap after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Dáil and Seanad this morning, in protest against sanctions.
Zelenskyy received a standing ovation after his speech earlier today.
PBP / Solidarity TDs stood up after the speech but Paul Murphy, Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett and Gino Kenny did not applaud.
Speaking to The Journal after the speech, Murphy said: “We stood for the people of Ukraine and stand with them in their struggle against the Russian imperialist invasion. We can’t applaud calls for more sanctions which are hurting ordinary Russians and only bolstering the Putin regime at home.
“It’s worrying that the Zelensky government has banned opposition parties with almost 20% of the vote in Ukraine. That’s not because we support those parties but because it’s a worrying attack on democratic rights which undermines the struggle against the invasion. “
A number of TDs wore the Ukrainian colors of blue and yellow, while others – including Smith and Kenny – wore white as a symbol of peace.
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In his address, Zelenskyy asked Ireland to push other EU countries to impose more sanctions on Russia, cut it off from global markets and stem its income from oil.
He said there are still some political leaders in the world who do not believe that stopping Russia is more important than any financial loss to other countries from sanctions.
“I am sure your leadership can make a difference and change this,” he stated, via an interpreter.
“When we’re hearing new rhetoric about sanctions against Russia, I can’t tolerate any indecisiveness after everything we have gone through and everything Russia has done.
“We still have to convince, even some European countries, to abandon the Russian market,” he added.
Zelenskyy also told the House of the Oireachtas: “In the 42 days of all-out Russian war, at least 167 children were killed in Ukraine.
“We don’t know yet all the atrocities of Mariupol and victims in other areas of Ukraine where fighting is still going on.”
Directly referencing Ireland’s response to the invasion, Zelenskyy said: “Even though you are a neutral country, you have not remained neutral to the… mishaps Russia has brought to Ukraine.”
“I am grateful to you. To every citizen of Ireland, thank you for supporting sanctions against Russia. ”
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He also thanked Irish people for their humanitarian donations.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, the leaders of the main parties and a number of TDs spoke after Zelenskyy’s address.
In his response, Boyd Barrett said: “We must all join in condemning the barbaric invasion” and the war crimes that Vladimir Putin has “undoubtedly committed”. However, he added that “the US and the UK and some of their allies” have also committed war crimes.
He said the war in Ukraine should not be used as an justification for Ireland changing its stance on neutrality.