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Fianna Fáil & Labour failing to support neutrality at EU level – Boylan

16 November, 2013 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking at today’s Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) Conference in Dublin entitled ‘The EU – The Military Dimension’ Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Lynn Boylan sharply criticised the Labour party and Fianna Fáil for failing to vote down a European report which notes with regret that the EU does not possess a permanent military planning and conduct capability.

The young female Dublin candidate said:

“There can be no doubt that the EU has become increasingly militarised since the Maastricht Treaty.   

“Earlier this year the European Parliament approved a report titled EU Structures, State of Play and Future Prospects following on from the passing of the Lisbon Treaty.  This report notes with regret that the EU still does not possess a permanent military planning and conduct capability.  It also reiterated its grave concern at cuts in national defence budgets. 

“Just two Irish MEP’s voted against this report, one of whom was Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson. Six Irish MEPs voted in favour of the report, including the Labour party, and four abstained.  This report is just one of many votes that Irish MEP’s take on the issue of defence and security, yet they are rarely challenged at home for the positions they take.

“What I find truly shocking is that none of our MEP’s voted against a document that defends excessive military spending whilst 64,700 young Irish people are officially out of work, under 26’s have had their benefits cut by 30%, and another €1bn is to be cut from the health.

“In 2010 European Union member states spent €194 billion on arms.  Even Greece has been pressured by France and Germany not to reduce defence spending.  Defenders of the arms industry will say that it employs 800,000 people in the EU but research shows that for every euro invested in education or public transport twice as many jobs are created than that invested in the arms industry.

“Sinn Féin supports positive neutrality that opposes military alliances and instead seeks international cooperation and conflict negotiation.  Neutrality it is about active engagement in the global community and the relentless pursuit of global justice through peaceful means.  

“The majority of Irish people are in favour of neutrality, as PANA’s commissioned poll has shown. We need to hold our European parliament representatives to account. Today I am calling on citizens to regularly check the website site and demand explanations on positions taken by MEPS in advance of next summer’s European elections.” 

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