Comments made by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland should focus corporate minds on the controversy surrounding the export of top Irish whiskey Jameson to Russia, a Fine Gael Senator said.
The pressure is piling on French drinks giant Pernod Ricard, the parent company for Jameson, to reverse its decision to resume exporting Ireland’s best known whiskey to Russia, Senator Garret Ahearn added.
“Last week, I highlighted the fact that Pernod Ricard had restarted shipments of Jameson to Russia, having initially stalled exports at the beginning of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine. This move is morally unjustifiable and wrong, especially when one considers the many companies which made a stand against the brutality of the Putin regime and the war by withdrawing their products from the Russian market.
“After I highlighted this, the company issued a statement saying it plans to stop exports of Jameson to Russia, but it is not clear on when this will happen, as action is needed to ensure the welfare and safety of staff.
“A staggering €15.6m worth of Jameson whiskey was sent to Russia over the past six months – that is some comeback for Pernod Ricard after halting exports temporarily and explains its reluctance to cease exporting. It’s clearly too lucrative for them to want to stop.
“Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko has added her voice to this debate and says that boycotting or supporting products and brands is a moral decision for each person. Ukrainian campaigners say they are cautiously optimistic that Jameson exports to Russia will cease, but as of now, that optimism may soon evaporate.
“Pubs and restaurants currently serving Jameson to patrons ought to be aware of what’s going on here and I would hope that they would do the right thing and cease stocking Jameson to send a clear message that they won’t support the company while it continues to trade with Russia.
“I am calling on Permod Ricard to announce that they are ceasing exports with immediate effect. If they are unwilling to do that, they should appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment so they can outline their rationale for abject prioritisation of profit over solidarity and unity with Ukraine.