Taoiseach Micheál Martin thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for welcoming him to Kyiv and assured him that “Ireland will be with you every step of the way” as the country aims to achieve candidate status. European Union.
“I want to thank you, President Zelenskyy, for your very warm welcome to Kyiv and I want to thank you for your remarkable leadership which is much admired in Ireland.
“I am here first and foremost to express Ireland’s solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine.
“We admire you and we stand with you. Russia’s brutal war against this beautiful democratic country is a flagrant violation of international law. It is an affront to everything Ireland stands for. It cannot and will not not allowed to stay.
“This morning I visited the towns of Borodianka, Irpin, Bucha to witness firsthand the horrific reality of the war against the Ukrainian people and met with local officials who told me in detail about the atrocities that have happened but also the enormous need in terms of reconstruction and in particular in terms of the opening of schools and kindergartens in September.
“Those responsible, those who carry out these actions and those who direct them will be held fully accountable and there will be no hiding places and that is why we have provided additional funding to the International Criminal Court to meet the capacity of track these crimes.
“I am also here to pay tribute to President Zelensky and his government for achieving European Union candidate status.
“I have always made clear from the outset our firm belief that Ukraine belongs to the European Union.
But it was the commitment and hard work of the Government of Kyiv that convinced the European Commission to come forward with a positive recommendation so quickly and it is a well-deserved result.
“As you embark on the complex journey of membership, Ireland will be with you every step of the way and we will do all we can to help you work with the European institutions and the Commission, because we in Ireland have been transformed by our 50 years of membership in the European Union and we want the same transformation for you too.
“Although we are on either side of the continent, the Irish have been deeply moved by the suffering of the Ukrainian people. You are very close to our hearts.
“Every Irish town is a sea of yellow and blue. We have taken in almost 40,000 Ukrainians who are feeling the war.
“They are welcome to stay in Ireland for as long as they need. Our home is your home, but we know they want to come home and we want them back, especially too.
“And we will work with you in terms of rebuilding and so on. We also have a connection as people who have experienced and overcome adversity in the past.
“I had the honor this morning to lay flowers at the memorial to the Holodomor, Ukraine’s catastrophic famine of the 1930s and given our own history of famine, no one in Ireland could feel a resonates strongly with a man-made famine that saw millions die as food left your country.
“We are equally horrified now that food could be counter-used today as an instrument of war.
“We will continue to work with others to ensure that the world’s vulnerable people do not fall victim to Russian cynicism and the weaponization of food and its inhumanity. Food must reach those who need it most. Ties between Ireland and Ukraine are already strong.
“We have warm bonds between people, young, creative and dynamic populations. Two of the best known diasporas in the world.
“Ireland has been enriched by a vibrant Ukrainian community which has contributed a lot to our society.
“These bonds have deepened during this terrible and immoral war and the displacement of people. They will, I know, ensure a strong and unbreakable bond between us.
“People around the world have been deeply impressed by the remarkable resilience and spirit of the Ukrainian people, personified by your leadership, Mr. President. And that regardless of what you are currently enduring.
“In 2016, the great Ukrainian writer and thinker Oksana Zabuzhko observed, and I quote, ‘we have learned that for a free nation, the strategy for survival is actually to speak up, not to be silent, which Ukrainians finally have discovered how much they have to say to the world, if only this time the world will listen.
“I am here today to tell you, President, and the people of Ukraine, that you have spoken and the world is listening; you are being heard.
“A war intended to crush and fragment people has on the contrary made you stronger, more united, more convinced of your identity and your place in the world, of your language, of your culture, of your European vocation.
“The world has been touched by the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people. As your anthem says, ‘The glory and freedom of Ukraine have not yet perished.’ As far as I’m concerned, that will never happen. Long live Ukraine, Slava Ukraini/Слава Україні!”