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O'Dea delivers body blow to Irish neutrality - Mary Lou McDonald

23 November, 2004


Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today accused Defence Minister Willie O'Dea of "delivering another body blow to Irish neutrality and of further undermining the United Nations in his rush to boost efforts to militarise the EU". Ms McDonald made her comments after Minister O'Dea committed Irish troops to front-line rapid reaction forces under the direction and command of the EU.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"The decision of Defence Minister Willie O‚Dea to commit Irish troops to front-line rapid reaction forces under the direction and command of the EU, is another giant step towards the militarisation of the EU and is a body blow to Irish neutrality.

"The building up of EU military strength is also being carried out at the expense of the United Nations. For some time now the UN has been grossly under funded, and this combined with the creeping militarisation of the EU, has directly weakened the capacity of the UN to effectively deal with international crises and to prevent genocide. Instead of channelling the necessary additional resources into the UN, the European Union has been busy building up its own military capacity.

"Furthermore, when troops are deployed to EU led missions they become unavailable for any actions the UN may wish to lead and manage directly. Minister O'Dea, by his actions, is actively playing his part in undermining the UN at the expense of a strategic, insular and regional military alliance." ENDS

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