On March 28 the News Letter carried an article on the Irish government’s decision to expel a Russian Federation diplomat because of a tragic incident that occurred in the UK (‘Varadkar hits back at SF as Russian expelled’).
In my view, Ireland, as an independent and neutral country, should have waited until the matter had been investigated by an international authority, before taking hostile action. Ireland’s international reputation, as a country of principle, is now in tatters.
Irreparable damage has been done to Ireland’s reputation, both with Russia, and the wider world, by the Irish government’s action.
A red line was crossed by the rush to judgement against the Russian Federation (in the absence of hard evidence); Ireland should have waited until this UK incident has been investigated by a competent and independent world authority.
Ireland’s position is illogical; it refused to accept the UK’s word regarding the Northern Ireland Irish border (so why accept the UK’s word now — as to who is the guilty party) and roped in the EU to ensure that Ireland’s desired border outcome is achieved vis-a-vis the UK; also, it declares that it objects to deadly chemical usage in the UK, but at the same time the Irish government is advocating that chemical usage be legalised to destroy unborn Irish babies in Ireland.
According to the UK, an attack- using a deadly chemical - was made on a former Russian officer, and his adult daughter (the latter, I understand, is a resident of the Russian Federation) in the UK; the Russian officer, apparently, provided intelligence to the UK in the past, for which he was sent to prison.
In a spy swapping deal, in 2010, he was released, and settled in the UK; in the intervening years his usefulness to the UK, or threat to the Russian Federation, would have greatly diminished.
In my opinion there does not appear, prima facie, to be a credible reason for the Russian Federation to mount an attack on this former Russian officer.
The UK informed the world that the attack was made using a deadly chemical, Novichok, which was developed in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s — ergo, present day Russia is responsible; this reasoning is contrary to natural justice; the basic assumption of innocence until proven guilty is being set aside.
While the chemical Novichok (5 and 7) was developed in the former USSR, it is likely that this chemical came into the possession of protagonists, such as the UK and US, especially during the traumatic years following the collapse of the Soviet Union; also, the UK is capable of synthesising Novichok (5 and 7).
I understand that a state, less developed than the UK and US, has done so and provided detailed analysis data on the chemical to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
I cannot see Ireland retrieving its hard won reputation (for many years) as an independent voice and force for good, on the world stage, as a consequence of this precipiative and hostile action by the Irish government.
Micheal O’Cathail, Fermanagh