MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace should resign for the part they have played in the spread of false information in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Speaking on his return from Ukraine, where he saw evidence of the atrocities committed by Russian forces, Senator Barry Ward said that “Clare Daly’s comments at the Roger Casement Summer School in Dún Laoghaire, are further evidence of the campaign of disinformation being waged by her and fellow MEP Mick Wallace in relation to the war in Ukraine.
“The Dún Laoghaire speech amounted to victim blaming of the worst kind. Ukraine is not responsible on any level for the Russian invasion, and to make such a statement is to propagate Russian disinformation and promote pro-Russian propaganda.
“Obviously, people, including public representatives, are entitled to express their opinions, and free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we must all act responsibly around this war. Making statements that are clearly untrue is wrong and irresponsible, and it denies the sacrifice of so many ordinary Ukrainians, over 30,000 of whom are now living here in Ireland as refugees having fled this brutal war.
“In the last few days, I have seen the devastation caused by Russian forces, the destruction of civilian homes, the mass graves and the evidence of war crimes committed against the people of Ukraine; there is nothing that Ukraine could have done to shift the blame from Russia for these unjustifiable actions. I welcome the decision of the International Criminal Court to open a dossier on Russian activities in Ukraine and that of the Government of Ireland to join a European central repository of evidence for any future war crimes prosecutions.
“In reality, Ukraine has been fighting this war since Russia illegally annexed Crimea, Ukrainian sovereign territory, in 2014. There has been on-going conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine for eight years. Ukraine cannot be held responsible for that or for the invasion Russia perpetrated against Ukraine, including its capital and major cities, on 24 February.
“The extraordinary weight of independent, internationally-verified, evidence of Russian atrocities, from non-governmental agencies, media and international organisations on the ground in Ukraine, cannot be swept away by callous assertions from Clare Daly. There is an over-whelming consensus that Russian actions are unjustified and unjustifiable. Despite describing the Russian invasion as wrong, MEP Daly also seeks to blame it on Ukrainian politicians.
“Ukraine, as a sovereign state, must be entitled to join international alliances as its government and parliament decide, and it is never the right of another state to interfere in that process by violent aggression and invasion.
“Her comments, however inexplicable and whyever motivated, demonstrate either that she has an unfathomable lack of understanding of what is happening, or has swallowed pro-Russian propaganda without question. Either way, the false information spread by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace makes their positions as Members of the European Parliament untenable and she should now resign. With this latest speech, Clare Daly has brought Ireland, the European Parliament and politics in general, into disrepute and has provided pro-Russian elements with media fodder to advance their unjust cause. This kind of victim-blaming would not be tolerated in any other criminal context and it should not be tolerated here.”