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O'Dea's hopes an affront to all who value Irish neutrality

9 September, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson for International affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said
Defence  Minister  Willie O’Dea’s hopes to push through Irish participation
in  regional  battle  groups  via legislative change are an "affront to the
Irish people and to all who value Irish neutrality."

Speaking  today  Deputy  Ó  Snodaigh  said,  “After originally citing legal
difficulties  including  constitutional  difficulties  as  the reason Irish
troops  will  not  participate  in  the  controversial  battle  groups, the
Minister  for  Defence now hopes to achieve participation with greater ease
via  legislative  change  alone.  This  amounts  to an affront to the Irish
people and to all who value Irish neutrality.

“This decision would have serious implications for Irish neutrality and for
the  role  of  the  United Nations in international affairs.  Sinn Féin has
vehemently  opposed  the  notion of Irish participation in EU battle groups
for  this  reason.   The  purpose  of  the  battle  groups  is to serve the
interests  of  Europe’s  military  and economic elite.  Their existence and
operations  will  undermine and sideline the United Nations ability to lead
peacekeeping missions.

“The  Irish  government  must  instead  begin to pursue a genuine policy of
active  promotion of UN primacy in all international missions involving the
deployment of troops.” ENDS

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