Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher believes that the time is now right for the Irish Government to support a targeted ban on visas for Russians entering the European Union.
Mr Kelleher said economic sanctions imposed by the EU in the past six months have been an important "sign of our strong opposition to Russian aggression," although he believes "we should have gone further" in terms of banning the importation of Russian gas.
“However, it’s time to move the sanctions package on to include applying bans on Russian tourist and non-humanitarian visas.
“I do not believe that EU member states should be facilitating the holiday desires of Russian citizens, especially the oligarchs supporting Putin. While of course many Russians are opposed to the war, we need to make it clear to everyone in Russia that the continuation of this war by Putin will result in an impact in their own lives.
Of course, visas should be provided to those Russian citizens actively fleeing persecution by Putin and his cronies.
“Of course, visas should be provided to those Russian citizens actively fleeing persecution by Putin and his cronies. These brave leaders are well known and should be supported in escaping Russia. In addition, certain exemptions should be made for family-reunion and medical necessity reasons."
“My colleagues from the Baltics and Eastern Europe strongly support a visa ban, and I believe so too should the Irish government,” Mr Kelleher concluded.