Statement on forging of Irish Passports3/2/11
Statement on Russian involvement in the forging of Irish Passports
Following the disclosure last June of a long-standing Russian espionage operation in the United States, the Garda Síochána were asked to investigate evidence that a number of false Irish passports might have been used by Russian espionage agents. This investigation was undertaken in conjunction with the Passport Service of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The investigation has now been completed.
The Garda Síochána report concludes that there is an entirely persuasive picture of Russian intelligence service involvement in the manufacture and use of false documents based on the acquisition of details of six genuine passports belonging to Irish citizens.
The Government today considered the findings of the Garda Síochána report and agreed to a course of action proposed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs subsequently met with the Russian Ambassador this afternoon to inform the Ambassador that the activities of Russian intelligence services in connection with the forgery of Irish passports and the effective theft of the identity of six Irish citizens are completely unacceptable and not the behaviour the Government would expect from a country with which we have friendly relations.
The Ambassador was also told that the accreditation of a named member of his staff with diplomatic status is to be terminated, in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The individual in question has been asked to leave this jurisdiction by a specified date.
It is regrettable that this action has been necessary. However, the primary responsibility of the Government is to ensure the security and well-being of Irish citizens, which includes protection of the integrity of Irish passports. The Government, by today’s action, has once again made clear that it will not tolerate the fabrication and use of forged Irish passports by agents of a foreign State.
It is hoped that it will be possible to move on from this disturbing incident and to develop further the relationship between Ireland and the Russian Federation which is fundamentally strong and which has significant potential.