Editorial: Human rights abuses cannot be ignored for the sake of trade gains

Ministers must not be afraid to ask awkward questions of repressive regimes

The Tánaiste and Minister for Business led a five-day Enterprise Ireland trade mission to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in November 2021 with the aim of supporting the “accelerated export-led recovery of Irish businesses in the Gulf region. Picture: RollingNews.ie

Ireland has often put trade first when it comes to dealing with foreign governments with appalling human rights records.

The justification is usually that the country’s economic interests mean that awkward discussions about women’s rights, the silencing of a free press and the execution of prisoners are pushed to one side.

Russia was one of those countries which benefited from this arrangement, even as its involvement in human rights abuses and the poisoning of its ...