Decrying ‘Horrible Madness of War,’ Irish MEPs Call for Diplomacy in Ukraine
Two Irish members of the European Parliament on Thursday voted against a resolution calling for a massive increase in weapons shipments to Ukraine and blasted E.U. member nations over their refusal to pursue diplomatic initiatives to end Russia’s devastating war.
In a fiery floor speech ahead of Thursday’s vote on the resolution—which ultimately passed by an overwhelming margin of 504 to 26, with 36 abstentions—Irish MEP Clare Daly lamented that “practically nobody in this chamber is doing anything to prevent” the war in Ukraine from “quickly escalating into a wider horror,” a nod at the growing risk of nuclear catastrophe as Russian President Vladimir Putin ramps up his threatening rhetoric.
“In fact, most people seem to get off on the fact that it’s escalating,” said Daly, an Independent. “And at this precise moment, of course, as usual, the voices challenging the rush to war are attacked and silenced, smeared as traitors, cronies, Putin puppets, Kremlin stooges, Russian agents.”
“Frankly, it’s pathetic,” she continued. “And I don’t make the comparison lightly, but the crudeness and cynicism of these slurs coming from mainstream E.U. parties might as well have been written by [Nazi war criminal] Hermann Göring, who infamously said that even though people never want war, they can be brought to war with threats and smears.”
“This house should be ashamed of this debate,” Daly added. “Words are being twisted, meanings subverted, and the truth turned on its head. Opposing the horrible madness of war is not anti-European, it’s not anti-Ukrainian, it’s not pro-Russian: it’s common sense. The working class of Europe has nothing to gain from this war and everything to lose. And I find it laughable that those calling for arms to Ukraine never call for arms for the people of Palestine, or for the people of Yemen. Unlike you, I oppose all war. I want it stopped. I make no apology for that.”
In addition to calling on nations backing Ukraine to “massively increase their military assistance,” the newly approved resolution condemned “in the strongest possible terms the unjustified, unprovoked, and illegal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine” and denounced as “illegal and illegitimate” the “sham referendums conducted at gunpoint to annex the oblasts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia.”
Daly and fellow Independent Irish MEP Mick Wallace emphasized following Thursday’s vote that they have consistently opposed Russian aggression in Ukraine and that they rejected the resolution because of its calls for more arms deliveries and its “bellicose, escalatory language.”
“We don’t believe that pouring more weapons into Ukraine is a good idea,” Wallace said in a radio interview Friday. “We think more Ukrainians will die and it’s going to have a terrible impact on an awful lot of people.”
Since Russia’s invasion began in February, E.U. member countries have provided billions of euros worth of military assistance to Ukraine.
Earlier this week, Daly and Wallace teamed up with Independent Irish MEP Luke Ming Flanagan—who abstained from the resolution—to introduce an amendment decrying the “absence of E.U. diplomatic initiatives” and advocating “negotiations and dialogue to achieve a cease-fire” and a peaceful end to the war.
The Irish Times reported that the amendment “was rejected by the majority of MEPs.”
In an explanation of her vote Thursday, Daly wrote that while she condemns “the illegal aggression of Russia,” she also disagrees with a “one-sided narrative that excuses the Western role in what is now happening.”
“I urge a cease-fire, negotiations, and genuine E.U. efforts to secure a peace,” Daly continued. “I oppose the policy of collective punishment, sanctions that also hurt European citizens, the flooding of Ukraine with weapons, and other actions that escalate the war and run the risk of igniting a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.”
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