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Irish government are drawing this state into a militarised EU by stealth

6 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has today accused the Government of drawing this state into a militarised EU by stealth. Ms McDonald made her comments as EU defence chiefs hold two days of 'informal' meetings in Brussels on the 5th and 6th April 2004.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"Let us be clear about the two day series of informal meetings between defence ministers in Brussels. These meetings have been convened to discuss increasing EU military capacity, and the establishment of EU 'battle groups' designed to conduct military operations both inside and outside of the EU.

"Article 40 of the Common Security and Defence Policy shall 'provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on assets civil and military. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union'‚ according to the draft EU Constitution. This is a very worrying development. We are beginning to witness the outworking of a functioning EU army.

"What I find most unacceptable is that this government does not want us to know what they are agreeing to on our behalf. For example, on numerous occasions since the draft EU Constitution was published, my colleague Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has attempted to ascertain as to whether Article 40 had been agreed by the EU heads of state, and specifically by Irish negotiators. We have had to ask the Minister for Defence, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach for a response. The government has only just now confirmed that they will accept and support the Article 40 provisions.

"The so-called triple lock has not prevented this government from giving tacit support to the provisions contained in Article 40, they have been deliberately evasive about their support for the militarisation of Europe, and are not telling the citizens of this state what the implications for the future of the defence forces and for defence spending will be if Article 40 is agreed." ENDS

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