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Government motion nails the coffin of Ireland’s neutrality – Ó Snodaigh

22 March, 2007


Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the motion going before the Dáil today to give the final go ahead to participation in an EU Battle Group as the final nail in the coffin of this state's neutrality. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that if this wasn't bad enough the government is also supporting the location of the Battle Group's operational headquarters at the British military's Northwood Headquarters outside London, a base which also houses NATO Regional Command.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Today the government brought a motion before the Dáil to give the final go ahead to this state's participation in EU Battle Groups. They are also bringing forward a memorandum of understanding with the British government that will see the British Military's Northwood Headquarters outside London as the operational headquarters for the EU Battle Group which will also involve Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia. NATO Regional Command is also located at this site. Given the involvement of the British Military in this country over many years, there will be widespread anger at this move.

"Throughout it's time in office, this government has consistently undermined this state's neutrality through the use of our airspace and Shannon Airport by those actively involved in occupying Iraq and through its support for the establishment of EU battle groups.

"Today's government motion marks the final nail in the coffin of this state's neutrality.

"EU Battle Groups will allow the European Union to deploy troop platoons in conflict zones around the world. The government tells us that participation in the EU Battle Groups will strengthen UN peacekeeping powers. However, the EU's clamour to become a regional military power has in turn led to a weakening of the UN's ability to respond to international crises effectively. No amount of denials from Willie O Dea will change that fact.

"From participation in the EU Rapid Reaction Force to NATO's Partnership for Peace, and now the EU Battle Groups, Ireland has clearly become associated with the concept of a fledgling EU army and military intervention, as well as committing ever increasing amounts of money on acquiring weapons of war.

"Sinn Féin will oppose this motion in the Dáil." ENDS

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