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Government Ministers should honour their pass commitments and support Neutrality Bill – Ó Snodaigh

18 November, 2016 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Sinn Féin TD and Defence Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has written to government ministers John Halligan, Shane Ross and Finian McGrath seeking their support for a Bill he and his colleague Seán Crowe have tabled for Second Stage debate in the Dáil next week.

The purpose of the 35th (Amendment) of the Constitution (Neutrality) Bill, 2016 is to amend the Irish constitution to ensure the State would be prevented from aiding any foreign powers in preparation for a war unless it had the assent of the Dáil.

The Bill was last tabled by Sinn Féin in March, 2015, when it received the full support and endorsement of a number of Independent TDs including Deputies Ross, Halligan and McGrath and Deputy Ó Snodaigh said he hopes that they will remain true to their conviction that Ireland’s neutrality would be strengthened by the passage of his Bill.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The importance of this Bill cannot be overstated as it prevents Irish Defence personnel being deployed in conflicts at a time when there are concerted efforts to expand the EU’s military capacity and establish a unified European army.

“When my colleague Seán Crowe TD tabled this Bill in 2015, Deputies Ross, McGrath, and Halligan voted in favour of the Bill with Shane Ross stating that Ireland was not a neutral nation but a neutered nation. During that same debate, Deputy McGrath said that Ireland was respected because of its independence and neutrality and as recently as August, Deputy Halligan stated that the use of Shannon Airport by the US military was making a mockery of Irish neutrality.

“Considering the level of uncertainty arising from Brexit and the recent election of Donald Trump as US President, the ongoing tensions with Russian and the horrendous conflicts that are taking place in the Middle East their support for Irish neutrality is essential. 

“Like Sinn Féin, Deputies Ross, Halligan and McGrath have been very critical of successive Irish governments in the way they have compromised our neutral status. The fact that our neutrality has been overwhelmingly endorsed by Irish citizens means it is essential that they honour their pass commitments to Irish neutrality and vote in favour of the Sinn Féin Bill that will be debated in the Dáil on Thursday, 24th November.” 

Note: The Neutrality Bill can found at: https://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2016/8516/b8516d.pdf

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