Latest: Russian Ambassador says expulsion of diplomat 'unwarranted, senseless and regrettable'

Update 5pm: The Russian Ambassador to Ireland has described the decision to expel a Russian diplomat as "unwarranted, uncalled for, senseless and regrettable".

Earlier today, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney announced Ireland would withdraw the papers for one diplomat in solidarity with the UK.

Yury Filatov, the Russian Ambassador, criticised the decision and denied that Russia was involved in the nerve attack.

"There was no Russian involvement in the Salisbury incident, and it is high time that Great Britain stop misleading its own public as well as the international community " he said.

Russia's Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov leaving the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin today. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Update 3pm: The government's decision to expel a Russian diplomat has been dubbed "stupid and dangerous" by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

Opposition parties say there's no evidence at the moment to back up British claims that Russia is behind the poisoning of a former spy in Salisbury.

Mr Barrett says it's the wrong decision and that it is "purely based on assertions without evidence".

Simon Coveney's statement has provided absolutely no evidence as to an independent assessment by the Irish government as to who carried out this atrocity and indeed, last week the Taoiseach said Ireland didn't have the resources to carry out such an independent assessment," he said.

Update 12.35pm: The Government have today announced that a member of the Russian embassy staff with diplomatic status is to be expelled over the nerve agent attack in Britain.

It comes as a host of EU member states as well as the US expel Russian diplomatic staff from their countries in the wake of the Salisbury attack.

The decision to expel a diplomat here was made at Cabinet this morning.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has met the Russian ambassador here at Iveagh House, Dublin, and informed him of the Government decision. In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Minister explained: “The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent. The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom, but an affront to the international rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing.

“In light of the European Council Conclusions, and following an assessment conducted by the security services and relevant Departments, I have briefed the Government on my intended course of action.

“The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has subsequently met with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation and informed him that the accreditation of a member of his staff with diplomatic status is to be terminated, in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“The individual in question is required to leave the jurisdiction.”

The entrance to the Russian Embassy in Dublin. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

However, Opposition parties have questioned any move by Ireland to punish Russia for the alleged attack, without definitive proof.

The Social Democrat and Solidarity-People Before Profit both called on the Government today not to expel any diplomats without sufficient proof.

European Union members last week agreed at a summit in Brussels that it was “highly likely” that Russia had perpetrated the attack against a former spy and his daughter, who both remain in hospital.

The Russian ambassador to Ireland will later today meet journalists at the embassy in Rathgar, Dublin, to give their reaction to Irish Government move.

The entrance to the Russian Embassy in Dublin. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Update 12.35pm: Ireland expected to expel at least one Russian diplomat today

At least one Russian diplomat is expected to be expelled from Ireland later.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was presented with a list of options after the Salisbury spy poisoning, which will be discussed at Cabinet this morning before a decision is made.

More than 100 staff are now on their way home from Moscow's embassies in 23 countries around the world.

The Kremlin is being blamed for using a nerve agent to attack a former spy and his daughter in the UK earlier this month.

International Relations expert Ed Burke says Ireland is setting an example for Europe.

"The Taoiseach has led the EU response to the attack in Salisbury, to some extent," he said.

"He and President Macron were the most vocal about standing up to Russia, preventing the murder of other European citizens.

"So I expect Ireland to expel at least one diplomatically declared official in the Russian Embassy today."

Ahead of an anticipated announcement, Russia's ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, warned against any action that might "ruin" the relationship between the two countries.

"We should be concerned about the best interest of the Irish public and best interest of the Russian public - the Irish/Russian relations," he told RTÉ on Monday night.

"We have a huge amount of good will, we have a very nice relationship - positive, constructive, stable relations, open dialogue and good business.

"And I don't see anything which would really point to the necessity to ruin it."

Minister Coveney briefed Cabinet colleagues on the matter in Dublin earlier this morning.

Ahead of that meeting, Minister Coveney said the Government would "take appropriate action" to "show solidarity" with the UK.

Russian Embassy

- Digital desk

By Juno McEnroe
Political Correspondent

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