A Senator has called on Irish MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace to resign for "spreading false information" in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward travelled to Kyiv from May 5th to 7th as part of a delegation of 20 international parliamentarians who are members of the United for Ukraine (U4U) group.
He and Senator Garret Ahearn were invited to Kyiv by the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk.
They were joined by other parliamentarians from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and Canada.
Dún Laoghaire speech
Speaking on his return from Ukraine, where he saw evidence of the atrocities committed by Russian forces, Senator 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."
In the speech in Dún Laoghaire, Ms Daly said Russia is "100 per cent" responsible for what is going on in the Ukraine.
However, she claimed the European Union and Nato also bear some responsibility.
She said: “We have six million people forced to flee, thousands dead, the disruption of Ukraine, a food security crisis and an economic crisis, plunging the EU into a deep recession — and unambiguously Russia bears responsibility for this. They invaded and violated Ukraine’s integrity.
“But we cannot ignore the part played by the EU and the US. That's not to excuse Russia. It's simply to explain, because you cannot solve a problem if you don't understand the root of it.”
Mr Ward said: “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."
He said that Russia's aggression in the region can be traced back to the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Mr Ward also called on Ms Daly and Mr Wallace to resign.
"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.”
Ms Daly recently accused the EU of being a "tool of Nato" in a European Parliament speech.
The Independents 4 Change MEP also accused the EU of engaging in “more war” to stop the war in Ukraine.