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O'Dea by-passes Triple Lock sending Irish soldiers to Afghanistan – Ó Snodaigh

28 January, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Highlighting what he called a "flagrant breach of Ireland's neutrality and the Triple-Lock mechanism by Minister Willie O'Dea" with the continuing Irish army involvement in Afghanistan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on International Affairs said this morning:

“During the last two EU referenda and re-run campaigns the government and in particular Minister Willie O'Dea placed great store in the fact that a Dáil approval would be required when sending more than twelve Irish soldiers abroad on military operations. It has now emerged that that the Dáil is being bypassed in the decision making regarding soldiers being sent to prop up the US/NATO led forces in Afghanistan.

“The Irish electorate were duped in the Lisbon and Nice Treaty debates when grave concerns over Irish army operations overseas were dismissed as exaggerated and untrue. Last year and every year since 2002 the government has given permission for 14 soldiers to serve in Afghanistan without seeking Dáil approval.

“In fact in a reply to a Dáil question the Minister for Defence admitted that he has sent 100 soldiers to serve in this Theatre of War, without any Dáil approval. This is in clear breach of the much-hyped Triple Lock mechanism which is supposed to ensure that Irish soldiers would ‘only participate in overseas operations, including those carried out under European policy, ESDP, subject to a Government decision and where there is UN authorisation.’

“I call on the Minister to clarify the position of the soldiers operating in Afghanistan and why was Dáil approval not sought when sending 14 soldiers annually.” ENDS

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