Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov has been invited to attend an Oireachtas committee hearing next week to discuss the tensions on the Ukrainian border and the planned Russian naval exercises off the Irish coast.
Chair of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Charlie Flanagan confirmed he had extended the invitation to the Russian Embassy.
Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Mr Flanagan said he would tell the ambassador that the planned military exercises should be scrapped.
He said he hoped the ambassador would attend as he has come before the committee previously.
The committee has also invited Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Gerasko Larysa to attend a session.
Earlier, Irish fishing industry representatives met Mr Filatov to raise concerns about the potential curtailment or wiping out of catches due to the drills which are due to take place over five days next week 260km off the southwest coast.
On January 27 representatives of the @ISWFPO have visited the Embassy of #Russia in Ireland. During the conversation parties discussed in a constructive and positive way the issues pertaining to the upcoming naval drills of the Russian #Navy off the coast of Ireland. pic.twitter.com/z6Qg2rmIWt— Russia in Ireland (@Rus_Emb_Ireland) January 27, 2022
Afterwards, the fishermen said both sides agreed a "buffer zone" would be respected in the traditional fishing waters adjoining the exclusion zone, where the naval drills are due to take place.
The fishing representatives told RTÉ News that the traditional fishing grounds adjoin the exclusion zone to the north in an area known as ''porcupine bank".
Brendan Byrne of the Irish Fish Exporters and Processors Organisation said: ''To give an estimate of the scale of the area, it is multiple times the size of the exclusion zone."
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The Russian Embassy in Ireland clarified matters further after meeting the fishermen.
In a statement, a spokesperson described the meeting as ''productive'', but said ''there was no discussion of guarantees of any kind. The Ambassador underscored that the exercises, given their small scale and location, will not adversarially affect the traditional fishing areas".
The Irish Fish Exporters and Processors Organisation told RTÉ News there are ''more grounds for optimism''.
''When I was talking about the absolute guarantee, this was in relation to the porcupine bank and not about the operational area of the exercise,'' Mr Byrne said.
The organisation said Ambassador Filatov was very forthright and "we are optimistic based on the conversation that we had with him".
The organisation said its members were extremely disappointed that ''our own Government didn't see fit to engage or consult with the industry".
Mr Byrne said that during the meeting with the ambassador he communicated his hope of coexistence in the area where the drills are due to take place.
He said he was impressed with Ambassador Filatov's "wealth of knowledge" on "the complexity of the situation".
The meeting lasted 50 minutes at the Russian Embassy in Dublin. The representatives said a number of options were discussed at the meeting.
Earlier, the Department of Transport issued a Marine Notice advising all seafarers about the military drills which will take place from next Thursday, 3 February, for five days.
The Russian Federation advised the exercises will include naval artillery and the launching of rockets.
The Department of Transport said it was advised of the exercise by the Irish Aviation Authority who were contacted by the Russian Federation.
The notice details the location of the activity and advises that given the nature of the planned exercises and presence of the naval forces, vessels and crews are advised of "serious safety risks in the operation area" and should avoid the area.
The exercises have been criticised by the Government which has said they are not welcome. They are taking place in international waters but within Ireland's exclusive economic zone.
Up to 60 Irish fishing vessels are planning to fish in the area close to where the Russian military exercises are going to be held.
Earlier today, the CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation said the department notice was a "disgrace".
Patrick Murphy said the fishing trawlers are going to be in the area, weather permitting, from 1 February, when the prawn quota opens.
"If they come in contact with us, it is them who are endangering the Irish boats by their actions."
Mr Murphy said the notice does not order them off the ground, but it does bring the validity of their boats' insurance into question and their members are being advised to check with their insurers.
Additional Reporting: Sandra Hurley and Jennie O'Sullivan