Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McDonald- any EU role in security and defence must be rejected

27 February, 2004


Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the party's Ard Fheis in Dublin this evening said. "Positive Neutrality in Action is also about rejecting any EU role in security and defence and instead actively promoting the United Nations as the only fully inclusive and thereby only legitimate forum for resolving international conflict, recognising that significant capacity-building and reform are urgently necessary to strengthen the UN's capacity to uphold international law." Ms McDonald said:

Support for Irish military neutrality has been a core republican value since the time of the United Irishmen. In keeping with this tradition, we in Sinn Féin have committed ourselves to a policy of Positive Neutrality in Action.

This policy goes beyond mere non-membership in formal military alliances. It is about actively asserting Ireland's rights and duties as a neutral state. This includes the responsibility NOT to collude in war by allowing our airports to be used as refuelling bases for foreign armies. It includes the responsibility NOT to profit from war and to end Irish involvement in the arms trade. It is about actively promoting and participating in conflict resolution and making politics work to redress legitimate grievances and achieve needed social changes at both state and international levels.

It is about actively promoting demilitarisation and nuclear disarmament , especially in Europe. Positive Neutrality in Action adopts a "human security" approach which recognises that the world's most deadly weapons of mass destruction are poverty, hunger, disease and injustice, and commits to tackle the social, political and economic roots of insecurity and conflict. Positive Neutrality in Action is also about rejecting any EU role in security and defence and instead actively promoting the United Nations as the only fully inclusive and thereby only legitimate forum for resolving international conflict, recognising that significant capacity-building and reform are urgently necessary to strengthen the UN's capacity to uphold international law.

Sinn Féin's policy of Positive Neutrality in Action is unique in Irish politics. It also offers an example to the world as a genuine policy alternative, a way of pursuing a global social justice agenda through peaceful means.

While our policy is the product of a developed and coherent republican position stretching back over 200 years of history, it has never been more relevant than in the 21st century - in this time of great volatility in international relations, of accelerating militarisation in the EU, and of multiple threats to the exercise of Irish independence in foreign policy.

Positive Neutrality in Action is a policy we have used in Leinster House to challenge the misguided betrayal and abandonment of neutrality by the present Government. It is a policy we will present to the Irish people in this election as an alternative to both the Fine Gael rejection of neutrality, and the Fine Gael-Labour embrace of the EU's metamorphosis into a military superpower. It is a policy that Sinn Féin MEPs will take with us to the EU to actively promote as an alternative to militarisation and to promote a globalisation of social and economic justice and human rights. And it is a policy that the Irish people can expect Sinn Féin to follow in a future Government of a United Ireland. I commend to the Ard Fheis the motions reaffirming the republican commitment to the policy of Positive Neutrality in Action." `ENDS

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