Russian interference now a stark reality in Irish elections – MEP Andrews

Published on: 13 May 2024

Putin Propaganda seeks to influence Irish voters to elect extremist MEPs

Russian interference in Irish elections is no longer a threat but a stark reality, according to Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews.

It comes amid reports that French security officials have warned the Irish Government that Russia’s campaign of propaganda and disinformation has extended into Ireland since March, through an online and social media network aimed at promoting extremist agendas.

The Dublin MEP commented, “Putin’s propaganda is now evident on our doorsteps. This is the stark reality and voters must be vigilant. Russia is seeking to influence Irish voters to elect MEPs that will spread its propaganda in Brussels, undermine support for Ukraine and damage the European project.

“I have warned for some time of the growing influence of Russia in the European Parliament.  What has been particularly worrying is the fact that two of our own Irish MEPs, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, have consistently taken decisions that are straight from the Kremlin’s playbook.  When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Russia. Just 13 out of the 705 MEPs voted against this.  Clare Daly and Mick Wallace were two of them.  Another was a Latvian MEP now under investigation for Russian interference, and with whom Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have attended several events.

“Russia is now taking aim at Irish voters in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the European Parliament election.  Let’s be absolutely clear about this: there is one aim and one aim only, and that is to hand over control of Europe’s decisions and direction to Russia.  Promoting Ireland’s needs and values will be nowhere near the agenda.

“The potential consequences for Ireland could not be more serious. Ireland’s prosperity depends on a robust and democratic European Union.  A thriving Irish economy is directly dependent on Ireland maintaining strong, positive and active voices at the decision-making table in Brussels.  Irish people are largely pro-European Union, as we understand that our small country is punching above its weight in Europe and continually getting the best of our membership of the EU.

“I am urging voters to be vigilant about what they read, see online and what is targeted at them on social media over the next four weeks.”