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Ó Caoláin says Government is in gross violation of Irish neutrality

23 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin today sought a special Dáil debate on the "continuing gross violation of Irish neutrality" by the Irish Government in the context of what he described as the "unwanted visit" of President George Bush. He highlighted the admission by the Minister for Defence Michael Smith TD that the Government had allowed US troops to train on the Curragh for the past five years.

Deputy Ó Caolain said:

"The Government is responsible for continuing gross violations of Irish neutrality by facilitating the use of Shannon Airport by US troops. This week they are placing County Clare and its citizens under a state of virtual martial law in order to facilitate the unwanted visit of US President George Bush to which the vast majority of people in this country are opposed. The admission by the Minister for Defence Michael Smith that for the past five years the Government has authorised members of the US Marine Corps to train on the Curragh of Kildare is a damning indictment. This undermines any claim for an independent Irish foreign policy when it becomes known throughout the world that this State allows a power currently at war to train in its territory and under the supervision of its military." ENDS

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