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  • Ireland has shown very little, if any, activity in terms of combatting threats posed by Russia.
  • Its distance from Russia and little political weight in the EU arena makes it a less attractive target for Russian subversion than more prominent EU players.

Relations with the Russian Federation

No relations with Russia. Geographically distant from Russia and has almost no interest in any of the related issues.[1]

Ireland’s position towards Russia is barely visible, but in most questions of international relations Irish politics tend to seek a common ground with the United Kingdom. The only interest Ireland has in Russia is primarily commercial, but when it comes to defense measures, Ireland tends to rely heavily on the UK’s military, but so far Ireland remains uninterested in abandoning its neutrality policy.

Political acknowledgement of the threat

Irish politicians have condemned Russian actions in international affairs. Fine Gael MP Brendan Griffin urged the government to expel Russian Ambassador Peshkov over the assault of Aleppo, Syria.[2] Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Kenny also called for tougher sanctions on Russia in response to the siege.[3] However, the issue of a potential Russian disinformation and subversion against Ireland have not been highlighted by the country’s politicians, even though Russian military planes have come close to invading Irish airspace several times in the past.[4]

Government activities against Russian influence & disinformation

There are no visible activities in this sphere by the Irish government.

The approach of intelligence agencies to Russian interference

Ireland’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (G2) is the republic’s secret service, tasked with upholding Ireland’s national defense capacity, particularly in the field of counter-espionage. Little is known about G2 except that it is under Ireland’s Defence Forces command.[5] Other important institutions are the Crime and Security Branch (CSB) of the national police force (the Gardai)[6], however, it remains elusive from the public view.

The most prominent case of Russian spy activity in Ireland is from 2010 and it had to do with US-based Russian spies using Irish passports to travel between countries.[7] During the investigation of this incident, a Russian ambassador was expelled from the country.[8]

Activities of the non-governmental sector

The Irish Medical Organisation’s president Dr. Ann Hogan highlighted how “fake news” spread over social media have led to a decline of MMR vaccine uptake in the country.[9] The Dublin-based Institute of International and European Affairs has highlighted the danger of Russian disinformation and influence and calls Russia’s actions “the sharpest challenge in regional order.”[10]

[1] “How do European democracies react to Russian aggression”. European Values. 22 April 2017. Available at:  

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