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Neutrality issue not settled – Ó Snodaigh

25 August, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has challenged Minister for State Dara Calleary’s claim that the issue of neutrality is “settled”.

Speaking today Ó Snodaigh said:

“Minister for State Dara Calleary’s claim, made today that the issue of neutrality is ‘settled’ is simply note the case.

“Article 28 of the Lisbon Treaty contains a number of far reaching measures all of which affect our neutrality. It states for the first time that the EU ‘shall have a common defence’. It significantly expands the range of permissible military missions beyond peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks. It further strengthens the EU’s links with NATO. It provides for additional funding mechanisms and obligations for the European Defence Agency. It places a mutual defence obligation on all member states. And it enables small groups of member states to develop mini military alliances within the EU, which while not requiring the active participation of all member states, could no the less carry out military actions in the name of the EU, utilizing its resources.

“The so called legally binding guarantees on neutrality that Minister Calleary refers to simply tell us what we already knew, namely that Irish troops can only be sent abroad with the consent of the Government and Oireachtas. Sinn Fein never disputed this claim.

“However military neutrality is about much more than what a country does with its troops. The Lisbon Treaty if ratified will significantly advance the development of single foreign and defence policies for the EU, which in turn will have a profound affect on our neutrality. Minister Calleary is wrong to suggest otherwise.” ENDS

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