Priest who threw paint at Russian embassy calls for war protests to continue

Fr Fergal MacDonagh was among speakers at a rally in Dublin city centre on Saturday.

05 March 2022

A priest who threw red paint over the Russian embassy in Dublin has urged people in Ireland to continue to protest against the war in Ukraine.

Fr Fergal MacDonagh was among speakers who addressed a rally in Dublin city centre that was attended by several thousand protesters on Saturday.

Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko also spoke to the crowds outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, warning that her country was on the brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Fr Fergal MacDonagh addresses people protesting against the Russian war in Ukraine Dublin city centre (Niall Carson/PA)

Fr MacDonagh, from Dolphin’s Barn parish in south-west Dublin, threw the paint over the gates of the Russian embassy on Friday in protest at the invasion.

Organisers thanked him for the act on Saturday and invited him to address the rally.

The cleric explained what motivated him to vandalise the property.

“Yesterday morning when I woke up I heard on the radio that a maternity hospital had been bombed in Ukraine during the night,” he said.

“It’s appalling and horrific and it’s the work on evil what is happening in Ukraine, it’s a war crime and Putin will face justice in this world or in the next.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko at the anti-war rally (Niall Carson/PA)

He added: “I’ve been frightened and worried and anxious all week, all the last 10 days.

“We must protest, the people of Ukraine must know that they are not alone.”

Ms Gerasko thanked those who came out to voice their opposition to the war.

“Many cities in Ukraine are destroyed, many civilians are killed, many children, women and many Ukrainians flee the country, many refugees,” she said.

“We are at the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
People march through Dublin city centre to protest against the Russian war in Ukraine (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanya White, who is originally from Kyiv, demanded that Nato impose a no-fly zone in her homeland.

“My relatives, my classmates, my family they are all being bombed with rockets,” she said.

“The house that I lived in in Kyiv it’s being shelled by rockets continuously, it’s a nightmare.

“The main point is close the skies, close the skies over Ukraine and Ukraine will do the rest – they will win it.”

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