Sinn Fein spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD will be traveling as part of an Oireachtas EU Affairs Committee delegation to visit Eastern Europe this week.
The delegation will be visiting Romania and Moldova, where they will be holding high-level talks with senior government representatives from both countries about both their EU membership application, and their respective attempts to deal with the humanitarian crisis that has arisen as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The delegation will also be visiting several border crossings to witness first-hand how both countries are coping with the humanitarian crisis precipitated by the Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
The Wicklow TD said:
“Myself and my colleagues have engaged at length with the Ambassadors of Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and Moldova since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, who along with Hungary and Slovakia are leading the humanitarian effort in support of the refugees.
“We have heard first-hand of the hardship and terror suffered by those fleeing the conflict, of the efforts of both of their governments, and that of ordinary people moved by the suffering of the women and children who fled their homes in fear from the Russian invasion.
“And it was following an invitation from the Ambassadors of these countries, that the EU Affairs Committee arranged at short notice for a delegation to travel to the Ukrainian border to determine how Ireland can assist with the humanitarian effort.
“We will begin our visit with a meeting with the Minister for Health in Moldova, to hear first-hand of the scale of the effort that has been undertaken, and the challenges and needs of the refugees.
“We will also be meeting with representatives from the UN High Commission for Refugees in both Moldova and Romania during visits to a number of reception centres at the border crossings. We will also be meeting with high level government representatives of Romania and Moldova during the visit.
“What we learn from our engagements will help both Ireland and the EU in the allocation of humanitarian assistance.
“There is no doubt as to the support and willingness of the Irish people to do what they can for the people of Ukraine. But it is critical that the actions we take as a country are the actions that they need us to take, not what we feel needs to be done.
“The governments and people of Poland, Romania, and Moldova have made extraordinary efforts to assist refugees. But a country like Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, it has the largest concentration of refugees per capita, and have appealed for international assistance in dealing with the crisis.
“There are close to 400,000 refugees in Moldova. The population of which has effectively risen by 4% in a matter of weeks, and there is no doubt will continue to do so.
“That is why we need to be there on the ground to hear from those on the front line in dealing with this crisis as to what we as a nation can do. Failure to act, failure to do what needs to be done will result in an even worse, perhaps catastrophic situation.
“We cannot allow that to happen. I also believe that it is important that Ireland uses its role on the UN Security Council and at the EU, to play a pivotal role in directing the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine.”