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Irish involvement in PESCO ‘would be the abandonment of eight decades of Irish neutrality’ – Boylan

14 November, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking from Strasbourg, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has criticised the Irish Government’s plans to push for Irish involvement in the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), saying “Independent Alliance Ministers must stand up for Irish neutrality and tell their Fine Gael partners that neutrality is non-negotiable and that they will refuse to support the Government if it decides to sacrifice Irish neutrality or sovereignty in the name of EU militarisation”.

The Dublin MEP said:

“Fine Gael’s willingness to discard Ireland's long standing neutrality by participating in joint EU missions as part of PESCO ignores the widespread support for neutrality among Irish voters.

“During the Lisbon Referendum campaign, Sinn Féin made it clear that the Treaty posed a very real threat to Irish neutrality. This was dismissed at the time as scaremongering but we now see a very real threat to Irish neutrality with the launch of PESCO and the ever increasing militarisation of EU policy.

“Articles 42(6) and 46 of the Lisbon Treaty created the possibility of establishing permanent military cooperation among willing member states. According to the treaty Member States participating in PESCO must have the capacity to provide combat units for missions in non-EU countries as part of EU forces.

“The logic behind PESCO is to strengthen Europe’s abilities militarily. Furthermore, both the EU and NATO have described PESCO as complementing NATO and strengthening the European pillar of NATO. The requirement for increased defence spending comes directly from NATO who have called for all European nations to increase their defence budgets.

“It is dishonest for the Minister to claim that PESCO will have no impact on neutrality. PESCO is primarily a Franco-German proposal, both of whom are key NATO members causing PESCO’s strategic aims to be inseparable from those of NATO’s.

“Irish Involvement in PESCO will require Dáil approval before Ireland officially signs up to PESCO. If the Independent Alliance really want to be an effective part of this government’s foreign affairs policy, they must block Ireland's involvement in PESCO and put a stop to Fine Gael pandering to the EU militarisation agenda. The Alliance Ministers have an opportunity, as members of the government, to take an important stance on behalf of the Irish people.” 

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