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Boylan slams reckless comments on neutrality

14 September, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has criticised Brian Hayes MEP for his reckless comments on Irish neutrality. The Fine Gael MEP was quick to weigh in in favour of European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker’s comments on EU defence integration in his state of the European Union address.

Ms Boylan said that Juncker’s comments are part of the ongoing efforts to add a military dimension to the EU.

The Dublin MEP for Sinn Féin said:

“Neutrality has always been at the centre of Ireland’s foreign policy, and Irish people overwhelmingly support the continuation of this policy. According to a report commissioned by PANA in 2013, 80% of Irish people support neutrality.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs recognises the importance of Irish neutrality.  On their website, the Department states ‘Irish neutrality goes hand in hand with our promotion of international peace and stability’. Mr Hayes’s desire for Ireland to join any form of EU military alliance is in stark contrast with Ireland’s longstanding neutrality which has at its core the non-membership of military alliances.

“Ireland has a special position within the EU as one of the only neutral member states and this has not limited Ireland’s role in humanitarian missions. Any moves towards an EU defence union would be a further erosion of national sovereignty. While the threats highlight by Brian Hayes such as cyber security and terrorism are real, he offers no explanation as to what added security benefit would come from the EU taking a stronger role on these issues as there is already significant levels of cooperation between member states on security issues.

“Much on the instability we are seeing in places such as Iraq and Syria is a consequence of the failed policies of military alliances, policies that were aimed at providing greater levels of global security. Any suggestion the Ireland should be part of strengthening Europe's commitment to the failed policies of militarisation does nothing to increase Irish security or seriously address the causes of global instability.” 

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