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Irish neutrality will be eroded by EU Constitution - Mary Lou McDonald

8 March, 2005

Sinn Féin Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that "the EU Constitution is the single biggest step towards an EU Army and which will lead to the complete irreversible erosion of Irish sovereignty since the birth of the European project."

Ms McDonald made her comments after the EU Commission Vice-President Margot Wallstrom was quoted as saying that Irish neutrality would not be affected if the EU Constitution comes into force. Ms Wallstrom is due to visit Ireland in the next number of days.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The principle of neutrality is of fundamental importance to very many Irish people and I think Commissioner Wallstrom's comments are wrong. The reality is that the EU Constitution will commit all member states to the active development of the EU's common foreign and security policy and member states will be expected to 'unreservedly support' this. In effect the EU Constitution will sound the death knell for neutrality in this state.

"In addition, the EU Constitution legislates for a 'European Defence Agency' where member states are required to progressively develop and increase their military capabilities, and the policy of the EU must be compatible with the common security and defence policy of NATO. The Constitution also has provisions for the contribution of forces to the improvement of military capabilities and the establishment of an EU Armaments Agency - the blueprint for an EU military Industrial Complex.

"The European Commission is desperate to sell this Constitution; therefore Commissioner Wallstrom's comments are of little surprise. Sinn Féin is calling for a full, open and honest debate on the EU Constitution, and its potential ramifications. Irish neutrality has already been compromised by this government, in allowing the US military unhindered passage through Shannon Airport.

"Sinn Féin is calling for a full, open and honest debate on the EU Constitution. The people of the 26 Counties will give their verdict when the referendum is finally put to us before September 2006". ENDS

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