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Ó Snodaigh outlines Sinn Féin opposition to Irish participation in Chad mission

9 October, 2007

Sinn Féin International Affairs Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has outlined Sinn Féin's opposition to Ireland's involvement in EU Battle Groups. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking in the Dáil this evening on a motion proposing the Defence Forces participation in the EU military operation in the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic.

He said, "As everybody else in this house we are worried about the deteriorating situation in Chad. We are particularly concerned by the lack of progress towards a political solution to the conflict.

"However we are very concerned that:

- there is very little information on this mission;

- there is no information on the mandate;

- there is no information on its financing;

- and we would have concerns about its real aim;

"I have already put on the record Sinn Féin's opposition to Irish involvement with EU battle-groups. I have consistently made clear that we oppose the moves by this government to undermine and diminish the neutrality of this state.

"We are happy that this mission has been agreed by the United Nations. In our view this is an essential prerequisite for Irish involvement in any peace-keeping mission. But this is not an EU peace-keeping mission. It is the first of many EU Battle Group missions/adventures abroad.

"For these reasons we are opposed to Irish participation in this force. We would urge a rethink and would support the putting together of a genuinely neutral UN peace-keeping force." ENDS

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