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Ó Snodaigh urges support for Neutrality Bill

21 November, 2016 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin TD and Defence Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he welcomes the opportunity in the Dáil on the 24th of November to discuss Irish neutrality when a Bill he recently reintroduced with his colleague Deputy Seán Crowe was selected for Second Stage debate.

It is hoped the 35th (Amendment) of the Constitution (Neutrality) Bill, 2016 will secure enough cross-party support in the Dáil to ensure its passage.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh believes that, if enacted, the legislation would greatly strengthen Ireland’s status as a neutral country by amending the 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. 

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“There is a growing drive to enhance the EU’s military capacity as evidenced by the comments made last week by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen who in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election success spoke of building a common security and defence organisation in Europe. 

“Her comments were echoed by Federrica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, when she urged Member States to work together as a true Union with the ‘full potential of a super power, in the field of security and defence’.

“Last week in the Dáil, we debated Ireland’s participation in Defence Agency Projects that will see the EU directly funding for the first time military spending from its research budget.

“It is against this alarming backdrop of military expansionism that we need to maintain and enhance Irish neutrality and the Bill we will be debating on the 24th of November does just that by ensuring the State would strictly abide by a policy of non-membership of military alliances.

“It also empowers Irish citizens by giving them the opportunity to reaffirm the State’s neutrality in a referendum. In so doing, it reflects the majority view of Irish people who support and value our neutrality

“In the past, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have opposed our attempts to augment the State’s neutrality which is hardly surprising considering the way they have allowed foreign militaries, particularly the United States, to exploit Shannon Airport as a stopover to and from conflict zones.

“Now more than ever, we need to protect our neutrality from those who want to expand the continent’s military capacity under the guise of peace building.

“By passing this Bill, Ireland will be able to continue to make a highly significant contribution towards the long-held global objective of international peace with justice, and towards the achievement of the goal of universal Human Security, to which everyone has a right.” 

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