Last week it came under an even more intense spotlight after four diplomats were asked to leave the embassy and the country because their activities were “not in accordance with diplomatic behaviour”.
“Not in accordance with diplomatic behaviour” is a widely used and easy to decipher code for spying.
With more than 30 diplomats operating out of a site stretching across over five acres in Dublin 6, the Russian embassy in Dublin, questions have long been asked as to just what are they all doing there?
Russia’s team in Dublin – outsized relative to the 5,000-strong population of Russian citizens in Ireland – has long drawn suspicions that Moscow was using Ireland, perceived as a weak link in the European security infrastructure, as a beachhead into the EU and for surveillance.
It was in that context the expulsion took place, The move was part of a co-ordinated approach among EU states in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was hailed by the US State Department as an appropriate response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For its part, Russia dismissed the act as wildly over the top and said it “will not go unanswered”.
Conor Gallagher is The Irish Times crime correspondent and he talks to In The News about the expulsions and the Russian spies on the streets of Dublin.