Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghail’s worry about the sensitivities of the Beijing dictatorship — sorry, government — is such that he has warned TDs planning to go to Taiwan that their visit risks causing “serious offence and grave concern to our Chinese friends”.
Our Government, he reminds them, as if they’d forgotten, accepts Beijing’s One China policy, which means there cannot be diplomatic relations between Ireland and Taiwan.
Parliamentary contact, he fears, could have implications for “the excellent relations currently enjoyed by Ireland with China”. And let’s not forget Ireland’s “national interest”; that, too, could be endangered, though in what way TDs are left in the dark by Mr Ó Fearghail.
It’s to be hoped, then, that TDs either in the Dáil or Taiwan think twice before discussing claims — endorsed by UN staff and highlighted this week by BBC investigations — that as many as 1m ethnic Uighurs and Muslims are being held in vast concentration camps in western China, where they are subjected to “anti-terrorism training” and other “re-education” courses.
Such talk might seriously offend Ireland’s sensitive friends in Beijing.