Members of the public should wear blue and yellow when attending festivities this St Patrick’s Day to stand in solidarity the people of Ukraine, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Barry Ward said: “People and nations across the world are united in their strong condemnation of Russia’s unjustifiable, illegal and immoral war on Ukraine, which has resulted in large scale fatalities and has seen over one million people flee to other countries in search of safe refuge.
“The outpouring of support and generosity by Irish people for the people of Ukraine has been remarkable and demonstrated by the sheer numbers attending rallies and by donations to organisations involved in the humanitarian response on the ground.
“The Government has already waived visa requirements for people fleeing Ukraine and they will be treated effectively as EU citizens here with access to the labour market, housing, social welfare, healthcare and other supports for up to three years under the Temporary Protection Directive.
“We must not waver in expressing our support for Ukraine, and one way of doing so this St Patrick’s Day would be to sport the colours of Ukraine – blue and yellow – when attending celebrations across the country.
“St Patrick’s Day provides the opportunity to promote Ireland on a global stage and to renew strong connections with the international Irish community and our global partners.
“I was pleased that Dublin City Council recently took the initiative to hang 100 Ukrainian lamp-post banners along the route of the St Patrick’s Day Parade, with the flag displayed each night at the Dublin Lord Mayor’s residence and on Samuel Beckett Bridge.
“Local authorities around the country have lit up their buildings and landmarks in blue and yellow. Leinster House is also illuminated in the Ukrainian colours at night, with the flag displayed in the main hall following a request by me to the Ceann Comhairle.
“Images and footage of our capital and people enjoying the festivities throughout the country are beamed across the world by media outlets on St Patrick’s Day.
“I believe the wearing of blue and yellow by people in Ireland on our national day of celebration will send a strong message of support with the people of Ukraine.
“It will equally serve as a message of defiance against the Putin regime which has such inflicted horror and destruction on the people of a sovereign and democratic country.
“We must stand firmly with Ukrainian people abroad and at home who are battling to defend their citizens and homes, as well as their democracy, their freedom and territorial integrity,” Senator Ward concluded.