Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has strongly criticised US President Barack Obama over his comments that European NATO members need to increase their military spending.
Obama, speaking during a visit to Europe, in which he met NATO’s Secretary-General, worryingly used the crisis in Ukraine to justify his comments.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“President Barack Obama’s comments are very worrying and I totally disagree that NATO members need to be increasing their military spending. In my view NATO is nothing more than a cold war relic that needs to be disbanded.
“Surely European countries need to increase their spending on social programmes, on job creation programmes, on education, and on healthcare. They certainly don’t need to spend more money on weapons of mass destruction.
“The underlying fact is that even though the citizens of many EU member states are being crippled by brutal austerity policies, the collective military spending of EU member states totalled €194 billion in 2010.
“Sinn Féin is fully committed to Irish neutrality and firmly opposes the erosion of Irish neutrality by consecutive governments.
“We are resisting the militarisation of the European Union and any attempts by Irish governments to join military alliances.
“In December I moved a Bill in the Dáil which calls for a referendum to insert neutrality into Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Irish Constitution, to affirm that Ireland is a neutral state, and that the State would have a policy of non-membership of military alliances.
“I look forward to a robust debate on this issue when the Bill is selected for debate.”