Senator Paul Daly.

Westmeath senator included on Russia’s Irish ‘stop list’

A Westmeath-based senator is among a number of Irish politicians who have been included on a ‘stop list’ issued by the Russian authorities.

Fianna Fáil’s Senator Paul Daly is among over 50 Irish public representatives who have been banned from visiting Russia, for expressing what the Kremlin has described as Russophobic sentiments since the beginning of the war in Ukraine last February.

Senator Daly is one of 33 Fianna Fáil politicians who have been told that they are no longer welcome in Russia. Among their number is An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin. Longford-Westmeath TD Joe Flaherty (FF) is also on the list, which was published by the Irish Independent this morning.

Sixteen Fine Gael politicians, including Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, and the leader of the Labour Party, Ivana Bacik, have also been sanctioned.

Senator Daly said that he received a call from the Department of Foreign Affairs shortly before 9pm last night advising him of the travel ban.

The Kilbeggan man said that he was surprised, but it did not change his stance on Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Senator Daly is Fianna Fáil’s Seanad spokesperson on agriculture, and through his membership of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and the Marine he had been “quite vocal on Russia’s illegal invasion of the Ukraine”.

“I would have condemned the invasion when discussing feed and fertiliser prices, and when we were dealing with farm commodity prices,” Senator Daly said. “Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe, and a huge source of grain and fertiliser. As a result of the war animal feed prices have gone crazy, as well as the price of gas and oil.

“Of course, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has been quite adept at using food and energy as weapons since the beginning of the war.

“For that reason, I had been vocal against the illegal invasion, and I suppose the Russians picked up on what I said.”

Senator Daly said that the ‘stop list’ is the latest salvo in a “propaganda war”. He believes that Ireland’s stance on Ukraine has been correct since the outset, and he does not regard that stance as having impacted the country’s policy of neutrality.

“You cannot go too strong on condemning an illegal invasion, with so many people left without power and running water, and so many people displaced,” he said. “Neutrality is not a linguistic thing, nor does us highlighting the war as an issue have any impact on our neutrality.”

Senator Daly said that he has never been to Russia before; the closest he came to the country was a visit to Finland on business.