Dáil falls silent to commemorate anniversary of war in Ukraine

Ceann Comhairle urges parliamentarians in Russia’s Duma to ‘find some courage’ and speak out

A minute’s silence was held in the Dáil on Thursday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko was present in the chamber as well as members of the international diplomatic corps.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said as the Dáil marked the first anniversary of Russia’s “unlawful and brutal war, we remember and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine”.

“We acknowledge the generosity of the Irish people and their kindness and welcoming spirit in having almost 77,000 Ukrainian displaced people in our country at this present time,” he said.


Mr Ó Fearghaíl said last week he had visited the memorial in Hiroshima, Japan, for the victims of the atomic bomb in 1945 and laid a wreath at the cenotaph there on behalf of the 160 members of the Dáil.

He said 78 years after the atomic bomb was dropped, “we are witnessing a new evil with the war in Ukraine”.

“For the past year a sovereign democratic state, a member of our European family has been the victim of unspeakable acts of brutality perpetrated by Russia and its proxy forces,” he said.

“Just as innocent men, women and children were slaughtered in Hiroshima, innocent men, women and children are being indiscriminately killed in Ukraine by missiles and drones. We think of the immense human suffering with casualties in the hundreds of thousands and millions of innocent people displaced.

“Ireland is a militarily neutral country, but we will never be politically neutral where there is such a flagrant disregard for international law, to equivocate in the face of evil is to condone it, to stand idly by is to abandon innocent people to terror, and death.”

Mr Ó Fearghaíl added he was conscious that as he was speaking there are “parliamentarians in another House, the Russian Duma”.

“Four hundred and fifty of them [Russian politicians] who are in a position to exert influence in relation to the war in Ukraine and I urge them to find some courage, because amongst their ranks, there must be some members with courage and integrity and some sense of morality and ask them to speak out and name the reality of what has been done, ostensibly in the name of the Russian people,” he said.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times