We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


‘We’re not playing to a gallery’: Daly and Wallace defend decision on Russia vote after criticism

MEP Mick Wallace argued today that Russia has ‘genuine security concerns’ about the idea of Ukraine joining Nato.

Lauren Boland reports from the EU Parliament in Strasbourg 

THE TWO IRISH MEPs who voted against an EU resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have defended their position, saying they voted based on their stances rather than “playing to a gallery”.

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace were two of 13 MEPs to cast an opposing vote in a motion on ‘Russian aggression against Ukraine’ this month.

637 MEPs voted in favour and 26 abstained.

The motion contained 48 different texts that were voted on.

The resolution outlined the EU’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the two MEPs have said they couldn’t back the motion because it also expressed support for Nato and called for weapons to be sent to Ukraine.

Since the vote, the pair have faced criticism from constituents and others in Ireland, as well as fellow MEPs, for their position.

Speaking to reporters in Strasbourg today, Wallace said: “We don’t make decisions or do things based on what reaction we think we’re going to get from the public. We do what we think is right.”

“There were 46 votes in the resolution last week and people should go through and see what did we vote on. We condemned outright the invasion. We condemned the breach of international law by Russia 100%,” the MEP said.

We wouldn’t vote for the resolution because it was about beefing up Nato, stronger ties between the EU and Nato.

“We want Nato abolished. Nato is a war machine. It promotes the military industrial complex and it has nothing to offer the citizens of Europe.”

He said that “if people disagree with me, they disagree with me, but all I can do is my best”.

We’re probably not great at getting our message across all the time but we do try. We’ve a podcast every week, we use social media as well as we can, we’re not going to get nice articles written about us getting our message out in the mainstream media – they only talk about us when they’re giving out about us.

“When I go home, I actually find people like to engage with me and discuss these things and people don’t challenge me on stuff and say, ‘I don’t agree with you on this’.

“We do what we think we should do. We’re not playing to a gallery, we’re not looking for votes.”

The two MEPs say they are firmly anti-Nato and against military expansion, pushing for Ireland to retain its neutral status.

“[Ireland has] pretended to be neutral up to now, but we’re not. We’ve taken the side of US empire,” Wallace said.

He suggested that there “won’t be peace in the region until there’s an acceptance that Russia does have genuine security concerns about the idea of Ukraine going in Nato, the same as the Americans had in 1961 in Cuba”.

Similarly, Clare Daly asked “why hasn’t the Irish media” questioned other MEPs on their choice to vote in favour of a motion she said escalates militarism and would push a neutral country like Ireland in the direction of Nato.

“I’m not saying they didn’t have a right to vote, of course they did, but that would give you an entirely different narrative. Our position has been misrepresented in the media,” she said.

[People] think that piling in more arms and prolonging the war is a way of helping defenceless Ukrainians, is how they see it. In our experience and the experience of every war, piling in more weaponry just prolongs it.

“We have a dialogue with loads of constituents… some people have been incredibly abusive and won’t listen to any reason. Some people have done that and then, when we’ve explained our position, have come back and said, ‘Sorry, I only heard the headline, I didn’t actually know your position, that makes perfect sense’.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously objected to what he sees as attempts by Nato to expand the alliance’s influence in eastern Europe and insisted that Ukraine does not join the alliance.

The invasion has sparked debate about Ireland’s neutrality and its role in responding to international conflict.

Dr Andrew Cottey, a senior lecturer at the Department of Government and Politics in UCC, joined The Journal’s The Explainer podcast this week to discuss what Nato is and how it fits in to the world’s reaction to Russia’s invasion.

Meanwhile, officials at the European Parliament earlier confirmed they would investigate after Nazi stickers were placed on the offices of Daly and Wallace.

Speaking to reporters, Daly said her office was targeted on Tuesday.

“Our offices in the parliament and the offices of the 13 people who voted against it, were covered in Nazi stickers, and anti-Russian sorts of things on their doors. It’s been investigated, but these people had to go in to the parliament,” she said.

“They had to go out of their way to find the 13 offices.”

Wallace said: “To find out where the 13 actually lived in the building was a challenge in itself.

“We actually struggle getting around the place. They went to great effort.”

Contains reporting from Press Association. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel