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Dublin MEPs Barry Andrews (R) and Clare Daly debated the topic on air today. Sam Boal/RollingNews
peeping putin

Dublin MEPs debate threat of Russian interference in EU ahead of June elections

The Irish Electoral Commission is on high alert this year over threats of election interference.


FIANNA FÁIL MEP Barry Andrews is drawing attention to Russian interference in the European Parliament ahead of the elections in June.

This comes after reports and investigations into the Kremlin attempting to interfere with the European Parliament highlighted specific threats to the elections as well as two EU insiders being indicted and investigated for alleged collusion with Russian officials.

Andrews said in a statement this morning that some interference tactics include the use of spyware, artificial intelligence, and the direct grooming of election candidates and that the Irish Electoral Commission are on high alert ahead of the elections in June.

The Dublin MEP, called for Irish independent MEP Clare Daly to stop “underestimating the threat from Russia”, a charge which she denied today while speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme.

Daly and her party colleague Mick Wallace were among 13 out of 705 MEPs who voted down the first motion to condemn the invasion of Ukraine because of its language over the provision of arms in the European Parliament.

The pair, who have both acted as anti-war advocates in European and domestic politics, later voted in favour of a second proposal which did condemn the invasion.

However, Andrews highlighted that Daly has had previous professional relationships with a Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka, who is currently being criminally investigated for espionage on behalf of Russia in her home country.

In February, Daly and two other Irish MEPs were among the 56 representatives to vote against a resolution which condemned “continuous efforts” by Russia to interfere in European democracy.

The text referenced the Parliament’s “deep concern” following the reports of Ždanoka alleged involvement with the Russian security service, FSB.

The Irish MEPs cited they voted against the overall resolution after as it labelled reports of alleged relations between Catalan secessionists and the Russian administration as “extremely concerning”. 

Andrews was among four other Irish MEPs to vote against the particular amendment, which named Catalan leaders, because he felt that as it is a matter already before the Spanish courts, it would not be appropriate for the European Parliament committee to examine it. However, he voted in favour of the resolution as a whole. 

Andrews highlighted that Daly has not supported the International Criminal Court case against Russia on allegations of genocide in the Donbass region of Ukraine or the accusations of genocide against China in relation to the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

“I believe that these two MEPs are in an ideological straightjacket,” Andrews said. He claimed that Daly represents an “anti-Western” rhetoric in the European Union.

“To say that all they’re interested in peace is a completely misleading representation,” he added.

The independent Dublin MEP says it would be surprising if Russia were not attempting to interfere with European politics and that committees which she has been a member of have found that interference in European institutions is “rampant”.

But Daly claimed she does not keep company with Ždanoka, but that she has a “long-standing interest” in cases where people are charged with crimes against the State. 

She dismissed allegations by Andrews that her and fellow Independent MEP Mick Wallace were cooperating with the Kremlin as an attempt at “smearing a political opponent” and said there was no evidence to the claim.

Daly said that her view on the Russian invasion of Ukraine is based in contextualising the invasion through highlighting the increasing influence of Nato in eastern Europe.

She added that she has called for a cessation of hostilities and a negotiated settlement in Ukraine.


This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here