Why spy fears prompted Government to refuse visas for Russian diplomats

Plan aims to greatly scale back the size of Russia’s diplomatic operations here

Listen | 19:44

For decades concerns were raised at Government level that the Russian Embassy in Dublin was an espionage hub, with the sheer scale of the Soviet diplomatic mission to the State prompting suspicions over spying.

However, the war in Ukraine emboldened the Government to take action. Russian diplomats have been expelled, new visas refused and now the embassy’s staff in Dublin has been reduced from 30 to 15.

This follows the refusal to grant Moscow permission to expand the Rathgar embassy on “national security” grounds.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was clear. He said that 15 diplomats was “a pretty large embassy” and “we think that should be adequate for their needs here”.


Crime and security correspondent Conor Gallagher explains why the Government has at last taken action. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast