Clare Daly ‘salutes’ Sabina Higgins letter on war in Ukraine – The Irish Times
Irish MEP Clare Daly has said she “salutes” Sabina Higgins, the President’s wife, for a letter she wrote on the war in Ukraine, following days of controversy and criticism on the letter.
Speaking to The Irish Times on Sunday, Ms Daly said Mrs Higgins’s letter had “echoed” arguments made by her and fellow Irish MEP Mick Wallace “from the start” of the war that “only a negotiated peace can end the war, and this is what the international community should be working for”.
In her letter, Mrs Higgins said the war in Ukraine would continue until both countries agreed a ceasefire and entered negotiations. She criticised an Irish Times editorial published on July 20th, saying she was “disappointed” and “dismayed” that it did not “encourage any ceasefire negotiations that might lead to a positive settlement”.
The intervention by Mrs Higgins has drawn public criticism from some Ukrainians in Ireland, as well as from at least one Ukrainian MP.
“A negotiated peace is not defeat, it is an agreement reached between parties. If the terms are not acceptable to either side, it cannot be agreed. Without trying, the slaughter continues, while the arms manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank,” Ms Daly said.
“The audacity of warmongering Fianna Fáil senators criticising her and implying that calling for peace is anti-Ukrainian is truly sickening,” she said, referring to comments by Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne in which he called on the President to clearly state his “opposition to the brutality of Vladimir Putin” and to show that Ireland “holds Russia responsible for the war and ongoing barbarism”.
“Were those of us who called for an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan agents of the US? Were those who campaigned for an end to the Vietnam War enemies of the Vietnamese? Their comments are simply ridiculous. All wars end in peace,” she said.
Ms Daly and Mr Wallace have been long-time critics of Nato and have appeared on Russian state-run media in recent months voicing their opposition to European Union sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
In a series of posts on Twitter at the weekend, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (Pana) said it also “supports the position advocated by Sabina Higgins”.
“If the [Government] were using its place on the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] to advocate for a ceasefire and negotiations, her intervention would not have been necessary,” Pana said.
Mrs Higgins’s letter was a “wise intervention”, the organisation said, asking: “Is there any upper limit on the number of casualties that are acceptable before we get serious about peace?”
Mrs Higgins’s letter was published on the Áras an Uachtaráin website earlier this week, but by Friday evening it was no longer visible on the site. The Irish Times sought a comment from the Áras both on Friday night and again on Saturday about the apparent removal of the letter but has received no response.