Ireland will not sacrifice its neutrality for a European Army
Speaking ahead of the visit to Ireland of the French President, Francois Hollande, Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan has offered her deepest sympathies to the French people after the recent spate of terrorist attacks. She has also stated, however, her opposition to Mr Hollande’s closeted calls for a European Army.
MEP Boylan said:
“Ahead of the visit of President Hollande to Ireland, I am sure I speak for all Irish people when I offer our deepest sympathies to the French people after the recent spate of terrorist attacks. However, in light of Mr Hollande’s call for increased harmonisation of defence cooperation, I must state that Ireland’s neutrality needs to be respected.
“The majority of Irish people will know that such calls for defence harmonisation mean a call for a European Army, something which most continental European countries have been calling for, specifically Germany and France. However, this is not and has never been in Ireland’s best interests.
“Therefore, when Enda Kenny meets Mr Hollande on Thursday he must insist that Ireland’s neutrality must be respected and protected.
“Calls for harmonised defence policy and a European Army have been opposed in the past by Irish MEPs, with the exception of Fine Gael whose group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party, are excitable advocates of a European Army.
“Given that harmonisation of defence had been a subject long blocked by Britain, the landscape of the EU now seems to be changing rapidly. As a result, Ireland needs to be ready to oppose any attempts made to usurp national competencies around defence, and any other national competencies for that matter. We lost enough sovereignty under the Lisbon treaty without letting the EU take away our neutrality and strong arm us into being part of a European Army.
“It is imperative, therefore, that when Enda Kenny meets with Mr Hollande on Thursday that he be steadfast in his insistence that Ireland’s neutrality is protected.