Fine Gael must clarify EU army stance – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on Fine Gael to clarify their attitude towards the creation of a European Army.
The Ireland South representative was speaking after Fine Gael MEPs supported a number of worrying amendments in a report on the creation of an EU armed force.
"I am deeply concerned at a number of Fine Gael MEPs supporting or abstaining from voting on several amendments to do with the creation of an EU army.
"In particular I am disturbed by their support for Amendment 24, which calls for the partnership of 'major companies and stakeholders of the European defence industry with the aim of developing a European drone industry.'
"One need only look at the devastation wrought daily on civilian populations by drones across the Middle East to get an idea of the dangers and issues of morality inherent in involvement in such an industry.
"They also supported amendments setting aside billions of euros for the development of this European military force as well as generous tax exemptions for the companies involved.
"Irish taxpayers have been put through the wringer of austerity for years now at the behest of the EU while their treatment of Greece was nothing short of shameful, yet it appears there is an endless pot of money available when it comes to military adventurism.
"This gradual expansion of militarisation of the European Union, as well as frightening calls for closer cooperation with the US and NATO, not only goes against everything the EU was set up for but is also a direct challenge to Irish neutrality.
"For our part Sinn Féin has always and will continue to oppose the creation of such a force and defend the indefeasible policy of Irish neutrality.
"I would call on Fine Gael to make their policy towards the creation of such a force clear.
"If the Government and their quasi-partners in Fianna Fail want to reaffirm their commitment to Irish neutrality then they will support the motion by my colleagues in Dáil Éireann tomorrow calling for constitutional changes that would prevent the state from declaring war or participating in the preparation or conduct of any armed conflict without the agreement of the Dáil."