The 52 Irish politicians banned from travelling to Russia include 33 Fianna Fáil politicians, 16 from Fine Gael, Labour leader Ivana Bacik and Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell, it has been confirmed.
On Wednesday Russia’s foreign ministry said that it had put 52 Irish politicians on a “stop list” barring them from entering the country, naming Government figures on the list, including Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, but it did not release the full list.
The names on the 52-strong list, confirmed by sources familiar with the people banned from travelling to the Russian Federation, is dominated by politicians from the two main Government parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Ms Bacik, Mr Craughwell and Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl are the only figures included by the Russians on the list who are from outside the two Government parties.
A spokesman for Sinn Féin confirmed that it was the party’s understanding that none of their TDs had been included in the Russian travel ban.
Russia’s foreign ministry said that it was banning the 52 politicians because of “the anti-Russian course of the Irish Government” for “unconditionally” supporting the EU sanctions against Russian citizens “aimed at attempts to isolate our country internationally.”
There are no Green members, a Coalition party, on the list.
Speaking to the media in Newry on Friday for the launch of a new cross-border bridge project, the Taoiseach said the list “would appear” to have been thrown together without clear coherence, adding: “The overall picture really is that this is a classic diversion propaganda move by the Russian government and we shouldn’t be deflected from it. Our focus has to be on solidarity with the people of Ukraine and also maintaining pressure on Russia in the international arena to stop this war.”
Mr Martin previously described the Russian ban as “a form of hybrid warfare”.
When asked to release the full list, a spokesman for the Russian embassy said that it did not have anything further to add to its statement released on Wednesday.
“The statement sets clear criteria for being on that list. We are not going to comment on the particulars of the list,” said the embassy’s spokesman Nikita Isakin.
Among the people not named by the Russians on Wednesday who are on the list are Fine Gael TDs Charlie Flanagan, chair of the Oireachtas committee on foreign affairs; Richard Bruton, chair of the parliamentary party, and Neale Richmond, Fine Gael’s spokesman for European affairs.
Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, who is on the list, said he suspected why so many Fianna Fáil politicians were on the list was because since February the party’s politicians have been extremely vocal in expressing Ireland’s opposition to and condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine.
“In compiling his list, president Putin has accurately identified many of the Irish politicians who have vocally and genuinely opposed his war of aggression against Ukraine,” he said.
In late February, almost 40 Fianna Fáil TDs, senators and MEPs signed a petition calling on the Russian ambassador to Ireland Yuriy Filatov to be expelled from Ireland.
Many of the same politicians who signed that petition appear on the Russian “stop list”.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Russian ban was a “very unwelcome distraction” and an effort by Russia to “unsettle” Ireland and the Irish political system.
“I don’t think we should play that game. We should focus on where the real war is which is in Ukraine where Russia is responsible for war crimes,” he said.
Mr Coveney said Ireland’s role in holding Russia to account for atrocities it is committing in Ukraine has been effective and that it should continue to focus attention on this.
“Our focus really is to look beyond what is a distraction and an attempt by Russia to unsettle Ireland and to focus on what we do well, which is to be a strong international voice and to protect international law and to protect the UN Charter,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.
Ms Bacik told The Irish Times that the travel ban list was “yet another reason why the Government should act now to expel Ambassador Filatov.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that Mr Filatov was called in by senior officials on Thursday and that it conveyed “the Government’s firm objection to the unwarranted and unjustified travel ban imposed on Irish citizens” to Russia’s envoy in Dublin and that it repeated opposition to the country’s “illegal aggression against Ukraine.”
Political sources expressed surprise at some notable omissions from the list, including Independent TD Cathal Berry, a former deputy commander of the Army Ranger Wing who has consistently called for Ireland to send unused Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, is also not on the list, despite visiting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in May alongside Mr Ó Fearghaíl.
The Russian “stop list” in full:
Fianna Fáil members (33)
Taoiseach Micheál Martin
Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne
Jackie Cahill TD
Barry Cowen TD
Cathal Crowe TD
Cormac Devlin TD
Joe Flaherty TD
Seán Haughey TD
John Lahart TD
James Lawless TD
Paul McAuliffe TD
John McGuinness TD
Michael Moynihan TD
Jennifer Murnane O’Connor TD
Jim O’Callaghan TD
Willie O’Dea TD
Christopher O’Sullivan TD
Pádraig O’Sullivan TD
Niamh Smyth TD
Billy Kelleher MEP
Senator Niall Blaney
Senator Lisa Chambers
Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Senator Ollie Crowe
Senator Paul Daly
Senator Timmy Dooley
Senator Robbie Gallagher
Senator Gerry Horkan
Senator Erin McGreehan
Senator Denis O’Donovan
Senator Fiona O’Loughlin
Senator Ned O’Sullivan
Senator Diarmuid Wilson
Fine Gael (16)
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe
Richard Bruton TD
Ciarán Cannon TD
Joe Carey TD
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill TD
Alan Dillon TD
Alan Farrell TD
Charlie Flanagan TD
Brendan Griffin TD
Joe McHugh TD
John Paul Phelan TD
Neale Richmond TD
Michael Ring TD
Labour leader Ivana Bacik TD
Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell
Sean Ó Fearghaíl Ceann Comhairle