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06th Apr 2022

People Before Profit TDs refuse to applaud Zelensky’s speech in Dáil Éireann

Dave Hanratty

People Before Profit Zelensky

The party has explained its actions, or lack thereof.

People Before Profit TDs have explained their refusal to applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday, noting that the party cannot endorse further sanctions on “ordinary” Russian people.

The party also cited Zelensky’s banning of opposition parties in Ukraine, labelling this action “a worrying attack on democratic rights”.

President Zelensky gave a powerful address to a joint sitting of the Oireachtas and the onlooking Irish public on Wednesday (6 April).

The Ukraine leader thanked the Irish public for its support for Ukraine since the country’s invasion by Russian forces, saying:

“People of Ireland, since the very first days, you are are supporting good, you are supporting Ukraine.

“You did not doubt [in] starting helping us. You began doing this right away.

“Although you are a neutral country, you have not remained neutral to the disaster and to the mishaps that Russia has brought to Ukraine.

“I’m grateful to you, to every citizen of Ireland.”

The conclusion of Zelensky’s speech led to a standing ovation from the vast majority of those in attendance at Dáil Éireann, with the notable exception of the four TDs representing People Before Profit.

PBP members Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy, Gino Kenny and Bríd Smith rose to their feet, though chose not to applaud.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, the party explained its stance.

“We stood for the people of Ukraine and stand with them in their struggle against the Russian imperialist invasion,” begins the statement.

“We can’t applaud calls for more sanctions which are hurting ordinary Russians and only bolstering the Putin regime at home.

“It’s worrying that the Zelensky government has banned opposition parties with almost 20% of the vote in Ukraine.

“That’s not because we support these parties but because it’s a worrying attack on democratic rights which undermines the struggle against the invasion.”

Elsewhere on a historic day in Dáil Éireann, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called for Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov to be expelled from the country, which garnered its own applause from opposition party TDs.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that while Ireland is a militarily neutral country, it is “not politically or morally neutral” in the face of war crimes.

“We heard grave testimony from you this morning and we’ve seen ourselves the most shocking and harrowing of images from Bucha, from Irpin, from Mariupol and from across Ukraine,” Martin told Zelensky.

“Russia will have to live with the shame and ignominy of what they have done in Ukraine for generations.

“Those responsible will be held to account.

“We are with Ukraine and I am certain, in the end, Ukraine will prevail.”

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