Ireland's man in Moscow, Derryman Adrian McDaid, has been informed by the Russian Federation that he is to lose one of his staff in retaliation for Dublin's decision to expel one of the Kremlin's diplomats over the Sergei Skripal affair.
The St. Columb's College old boy who has served Ireland in the Soviet Union and in Saddam Hussein's Iraq over the course of an eventful diplomatic career was informed of the retaliatory action this afternoon.
Mr. McDaid, who, as a former member of the Central Chess Club of the USSR, is believed to have been the first Western diplomat to have joined a Soviet sports club, has been left to deal with the fallout of a reported incident involving a nerve agent in England, which has resulted in the hospitalisation of three people including Mr. Skripal, a former GRU and MI6 agent.
Dublin's decision to accept the UK's allegation that the Russian state orchestrated the incident and to expel a Russian diplomat in solidarity with London precipitated this afternoon's development.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it was "informed that the accreditation of a member of staff with diplomatic status in the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow is to be terminated".
It stated: "The Irish Ambassador to the Russian Federation met with a senior official in the Foreign Ministry on Friday afternoon and was told that the diplomat in question will be required to leave the jurisdiction.
"There is no justification for the expulsion of an Irish diplomat from Russia.
"Irish Embassy staff do not engage in activities which are incompatible with their diplomatic status, nor has Ireland acted improperly.
"The decision to expel an Irish diplomat is regrettable."