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Simon Coveney declined to say whether Russia’s diplomatic presence here has been reduced by the war in Ukraine.

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Foreign Minister Simon Coveney declined to say whether the number of diplomats in Russian Embassy in Ireland will be reduced.

And Mr Coveney has said it is “too early” to discuss a referendum on neutrality and that it is not an issue being discussed “right now”.

Last month, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it would be “appropriate” to reduce the Russian diplomatic presence in Ireland.

The government has been called to expel the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, after the Russian invasion Ukraine.

Mr Coveney said the Government “had a better understanding” of Russia’s presence in Ireland and “the individuals who are here” and would make a decision on the matter when it was ready to do so.

“Because like all the other actions we are taking now, we are trying to do these as a whole across the EU. I am in discussions with some other EU colleagues on this and when we are ready to make a decision we will,” he said.

Mr Coveney added that it was important to keep “lines of communication” open even in the current situation.

“What interests me is that even in wartime, if you fundamentally disagree with a country about what actions they are taking, if you consider some of the actions they are taking to be a war crime, picture, as I do, that’s all the more reason to have lines of communication sometimes,” he said.

“And it should also be noted that we have Irish citizens in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and we may have to take care of those Irish citizens in difficult situations in the future.

“We are taking the same approach that we have taken on sanctions and many other issues, we are much stronger as a European Union and that is the reason why I am talking to other EU countries about a collective action here will send a very strong signal to Moscow,” he told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

He added: “I will not enter into security arrangements regarding Russia’s diplomatic footprint in Ireland, it would be inappropriate for me to do so.”

Mr Coveney also spoke of the possibility of holding a referendum on Irish neutrality.

“I think it’s too early to say that first of all we have to focus on the war, which is the aftermath and how we can contribute to the effort to stop it,” he said.

“We just had an operational committee on our Self-Defense Forces, their capabilities, the resource issues are clearly there. The Self-Defense Forces in Ireland have been under-resourced for too long and we need to fix that as a government. “

He added that a new policy on shared security is currently being finalized and it does not require a constitutional change.

“We will work this out, but Ireland will be part of this debate going forward, we have been and will continue to be. We are trying to finalize a new common defense and security policy for the EU,” he said.

“It’s a new policy of shared defense and security now, nothing in it that really requires a constitutional change in Ireland because let’s agree to work together.”

“No country is safe and being called neutral doesn’t mean you are so safe and neutral in the future, I think, will need to be redefined if Ireland wants to remain a Central Country. create. And certainly, it needs to be redefined in the context of what our shared security needs are going to be and how we protect them.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/coveney-refuses-to-say-if-russias-diplomatic-presence-here-will-be-reduced-says-its-far-too-early-to-discuss-neutrality-referendum-41442334.html Simon Coveney declined to say whether Russia’s diplomatic presence here has been reduced by the war in Ukraine.

Fry Electronics Team

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