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The Taoiseach addressing the European Parliament today. Eric VIDAL

Taoiseach tells European Parliament that Ireland strongly supports Ukraine joining EU

Micheál Martin said Ireland supports the strongest possible sanctions on Russia, understanding that it will involve costs.

LAST UPDATE | 8 Jun 2022

THE TAOISEACH HAS told the European Parliament that Ireland “strongly supports” Ukraine’s application to join the bloc.

Addressing the parliament in Strasbourg today, Micheál Martin said membership of the union has been “transformative” for Ireland, describing it as “an historic enabler of sustained progress”.

Martin said he is “humbled and inspired” by the courage of the people of Ukraine and said he hopes that the European Council sends them a “clear and positive” message when it meets this month.

He said the prospect of membership can be a powerful driver of reform and membership itself is the most powerful tool to ensure peace and security in Europe.

“Ireland’s lived experience – and we are not alone in this – is that EU membership is transformative. It is not only about access to markets and to economic opportunity, though that is, of course, important, it is about what it means for people,” Martin said.

The Fianna Fáil leader said Ireland strongly supports the toughest possible sanctions on Russia. “And we do so understanding that this involves costs for us all,” he noted.

“The conflict is, at its most fundamental, about two utterly incompatible views of the world – autocratic and democratic. The new imperialism of Putin’s regime must not stand,” Martin said.

Ukraine’s cause must be the cause of every person who believes in free democracy. As the European Council said once again last week, Russia must end its slaughter and withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine.

The Taoiseach added that it’s an honour that more than 34,000 Ukrainians have sought shelter in Ireland since Russia launched its invasion.

Martin said Ireland is ready to assist the EU in responding to the looming threat of food insecurity due to Russia’s aggression.

“As a country with our own experience of famine, we condemn the illegal appropriation of agricultural production in Ukraine which is having a direct impact on global food security and affordability, and is affecting the most vulnerable communities in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

“It is hard to comprehend that hunger itself has been weaponised – Ireland will support the EU in playing its part in an effective and swift international coordination to ensure a comprehensive global food security response,” he said.


The Taoiseach also discussed climate change and the ongoing tension between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol during his speech.

He said there are solutions to the problems posed by the Protocol but the UK government must engage with “good faith, seriousness, and commitment” to find them.

The issue was also addressed by European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola, as she introduced the Taoiseach.

Metsola said the European Parliament’s support for the Protocol is “unwavering” and it is “fully committed” to preserving peace on the island of Ireland.


Meanwhile, Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly delivered a blistering attack on the French president Emmanuel Macron when he spoke in the European Parliament this morning.

Macron told media last Friday that the EU must try to avoid ‘”humiliating” Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking today, Ireland South MEP Kelly asked: “How would he like if somebody invaded France and we started talking about ‘we mustn’t humiliate the aggressor’? So part of France should be handed over to the aggressor.”

He demanded EU leaders find out what the French President meant by his recent calls for Russia not to be ‘humiliated’ over its invasion of Ukraine.

“I think now is the time, and particularly at the next council meeting, to ask Mr Macron what does he mean by this and why is he saying this when the lives of Ukrainians are being destroyed every single day,” he said. 

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