Donegal MEP Mairead McGuinness has blamed Russia for a reported incident involving a nerve agent in England, which has resulted in the hospitalisation of three people including the former GRU and MI6 agent Sergei Skripal.
Speaking on the BBC 'Question Time' political panel discussion programme on Thursday, Mrs. McGuinness, a vice-president of the European Parliament who represents the Midlands–North-West constituency, including Donegal, said she believed the British security services' assessment that the incident was the result of an attack by Russian state agencies.
"I listened live to the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations and he didn't pull his punches last night when he spoke and used some harsh words about the British intelligence service and rejected [their claims] totally. But if not Russia, who else? I think, the big question for us is, how are we going to stop these kind of chemicals in existence, first of all, and how do we get rid of them?" she said.
Prior to Mrs. McGuinness' appearance on the British state broadcaster, her party colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney had already expressed grave concern over the reported use of a chemical weapons nerve agent in the incident in Salisbury on March 4.
He said: “Ireland condemns this cowardly attack which has taken place on our neighbour’s soil. The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic weapons, is unacceptable and abhorrent.
"The incident in Salisbury represents a disturbing violation of international law and goes against norms which have long been established. We join many states in supporting the UK’s efforts to ensure a thorough investigation so that the perpetrators of this crime can be held accountable.
"We offer our full support and solidarity to the UK and to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in their efforts to seek answers and take appropriate action for this indiscriminate and reckless act.”