Ukrainians in Ireland are “welcome to stay as long as they need to”, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told President Zelenskyy while on an historic trip to war-torn Kyiv.
Having praised the Ukrainian people and their bravery in the fight against the Russian invasion of their country, Mr Martin said that those who had fled to Ireland should make themselves feel at home:
“Every Irish town is a sea of yellow and blue,” Mr Martin described.
“We have welcomed almost 40,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war; they are welcome to stay in Ireland as long as they need to.
“Our home is your home but we do know that they want to come home and you want them back as quickly as possible also.
Mr Martin also pledged to help Ukraine with its application to become a member state of the European Union:
“I’ve always made clear from the outset our strong view that Ukraine belongs to the European Union,” he added.
“The values that people are fighting and dying for today are European values - our values.
“But it was the commitment and hard work of the Government in Kyiv that convinced the European Commission to come forward with a positive recommendation so quickly - and it’s a richly deserved outcome.
“As you undertake the complex journey to membership, Ireland will be with you every step of the way and will do what we can to help you work with the European institutions and Commission.”
For his part, President Zelenskyy was fulsome in his praise for the Irish people and their solidarity during Ukraine’s hour of greatest peril:
“We are grateful to Ireland for the support of our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“And your support for our European aspirations and for our people who had to seek refuge abroad.”
Visited the Holodomor Memorial in Kyiv.
Both Ukraine and Ireland know the suffering and pain of famine.
Russia must not be allowed to use food as a weapon in this immoral and unjustified war. pic.twitter.com/gAgY8jYqFf
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 6, 2022
During his visit An Taoiseach also visited bomb scarred areas of Ukraine, a memorial to those who had died during a famine in the 1930s and a monument that honours the dozens of children who have died in this year’s conflict.
Main image: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets Taoiseach Micheál Martin ahead of a joint press conference at the Ukrainian Government Building in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/RollingNews.ie