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McDonald calls for urgent intervention to halt momentum of EU militarisation

1 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has called for urgent intervention to halt the momentum of EU militarization and to protect neutrality.

Ms McDonald said:

Successive EU treaties since the Single European Act in 1987 have corroded independent foreign policy to the point where Irish military neutrality is virtually all we have left.

But Irish neutrality is now under pressure from the accelerating militarisation of the EU, underway in earnest since the first reference to EU military cooperation and Common Defence appeared in the Maastricht Treaty. Subsequent treaties have built incrementally on this. Despite all the denials, an EU Army is evolving, and the Constitutional Treaty under negotiation will bring us measurably closer to this.

The need for intervention to halt the momentum of EU militarisation has never been more urgent. Yet the Irish Government on behalf of a supposedly neutral state has done nothing to oppose these developments, and has done even less to improve its negotiating position for the future in an EU that continues to be even more heavily dominated by NATO states after enlargement.

Worse, the Irish Government has continued to violate its own stated policy of neutrality by allowing Shannon airport to be used as a refuelling base by thousands of US troops on their way to the illegal occupation of Iraq.

Sinn Féin proposes an independent and progressive Irish international relations policy that opposes military alliances and works for international cooperation and conflict negotiation leading to democratic social change and respect for human rights, universal demilitarisation and nuclear disarmament.

Sinn Féin MEPs will strongly promote our policy of "Positive Neutrality in Action", which requires:

  • neutrality to be enshrined in the Irish Constitution and codified in legislation
  • withdrawal from the EU Rapid Reaction Force and NATO's Partnership for Peace
  • Irish troops to train and serve abroad only under the auspices and leadership of the United Nations, and only with prior Dáil approval
  • no use of Irish airports, airspace, seaports, or territorial waters for preparation for war or other armed conflict by foreign powers
  • an end to Irish involvement in the arms trade and profit from war
  • clear recognition and legal protection through a binding Protocol on Irish neutrality in any new EU Treaty, and explicit parity of esteem for the EU neutral states
  • active promotion of demilitarisation of the EU, including nuclear disarmament
  • active promotion of UN primacy, as well as badly needed UN reform

A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote to endorse this approach to international relations and a vote in favour of the demilitarisation of the EU.

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