It is time to expel a Russian diplomat from Ireland after the Eunan Doherty passport saga.

Doherty, a native of Donegal has been informed that his passport or a false version of it was used by New Jersey Russian spy Richard Murphy on a trip he took to Moscow in February of this year.

If the Irish government does not expel a diplomat they will be accused of double standards given the fact that they expelled an Israeli diplomat after a similar fraud incident.

It is now clear that Russian Embassy officials in Dublin duplicated the passport of Eunan Doherty, a Donegal fireman who went on vacation to Russia in 2005.

He submitted his passport to the embassy and they clearly made an exact replica of it.

We have no idea how many other passports may have been duplicated in this great game of espionage, but it is starting to get very serious for Irish passport holders.

Because Ireland is a small, neutral country the passports are highly prized.

The U.S.during the Iran Contra affair, Israel and now Russia have clearly duplicated them and used them on missions which have placed other Irish citizens in potential jeopardy.

After all, once it becomes obvious that Irish passports are the preferred mode of transport for spies then it places enormous pressure on authorities in other countries to closely scrutinize everyone who holds them.

It is time the Irish government made another strong statement in this regard and expelled a Russian diplomat, if as seems certain, this latest breach of international law is confirmed.