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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
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# Kyiv
Taoiseach to travel to Ukraine following invite from Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Micheál Martin will visit Kyiv tomorrow.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN is to travel to visit Kyiv tomorrow. 

Martin’s visit to Kyiv follows an invite from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a recent telephone call. 

The leaders are expected to discuss Zelenskyy’s government’s hopes to become a full member of the European Union.

It is understood that Martin and his team travelled to the region earlier today and will cross into Ukraine tomorrow morning. It will be the first official visit of an Irish Taoiseach to the country. 

Sources have said that a security team from An Garda Síochána has been dispatched to the area and will accompany the Taoiseach. 

It will be the second high level visit of the Irish Government with a previous visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney visiting the Kyiv and Bucha in April. 

At the start of June Martin told the European Parliament that Ireland “strongly supports” Ukraine’s application to join the bloc.

Addressing the parliament in Strasbourg he 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.

A statement has been requested from a spokesperson for the Taoiseach.

Coveney this evening confirmed that Martin would travel to Ukraine, following questions in the Dáil from Independent TD Mattie McGrath about his whereabouts. 

“The Taoiseach is everywhere bar in the chamber, when he so sought after the job of Taoiseach [...] instead of being here answering to the parliament,” McGrath said.

“This is the second or third week in a row that he hasn’t been here for Leaders’ Questions, and we have limited time and he’s all over the place.”

“He’s in Ukraine, deputy,” Coveney replied.

However, McGrath continued to question why the Taoiseach wasn’t in the Dáil.

“Where is he? This is Ireland. He’s responsible to this parliament, not the Ukrainian parliament. That shouldn’t justify him not being here.”

Ireland has taken in more than 36,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine at the end of February, and has given millions of euro in humanitarian support and assistance to the country, as well as health equipment and medical donations worth over 4.5 million euro.

Zelenskyy has thanked Ireland for its “active support of Ukraine’s European aspirations”.

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