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Sinn Féin seeks Constitutional guarantee on neutrality

21 May, 2007


Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that Sinn Féin seeks to have neutrality enshrined in the Constitution, and that the party wants an immediate end to the use of Irish airports by US troops en route to Iraq or for illegal 'extraordinary rendition' flights. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin proposals on neutrality and international affairs at a press conference in Dublin today.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"All the political parties claim to support neutrality and the UN and to oppose global poverty and injustice. However, only Sinn Féin makes these core guiding principles of our international relations policy.


"This State's military neutrality is under increasing pressure. An EU Army is steadily evolving with the establishment of EU Battle Groups and ever greater EU military research and development budgets. The outgoing Fianna Fáil/PD Government has accelerated this process by violating its own stated policy of neutrality. First it joined NATO's so-called Partnership for Peace without consulting the people, despite an earlier commitment to a referendum. Then it allowed Shannon Airport to be used to facilitate the illegal invasion of Iraq and the illegal programme of secret abduction and torture of prisoners (so-called 'extraordinary rendition'). Then it failed to negotiate recognition for neutrality during talks on the draft EU Constitution. Finally, it rushed through the Defence (Amendment) Bill 2006 eliminating the triple-lock safeguard on Irish military deployments and enabling the integration of Irish Defence Forces into EU Battle Groups. The cumulative effect of these decisions has been to heighten Irish complicity in human rights violations and compromise neutrality to an unprecedented extent.


"During the course of the last Dáil, Sinn Féin actively sought to enshrine neutrality in the Constitution and codify it in legislation. We will continue to pursue this objective in Government or in Opposition.


"Also, in Government we will ensure that Irish troops train and serve abroad only under the auspices and leadership of the United Nations, and only with prior Dáil approval.


"We would prohibit use of Irish airports, airspace, seaports, or territorial waters for preparation for war or other armed conflict by foreign powers or to facilitate any aspect of illegal acts such as the US Government's programme of 'extraordinary rendition'.


"Sinn Féin will pursue withdrawal from the EU Rapid Reaction Force and Battle Groups and NATO's Partnership for Peace and work for a binding Protocol excluding this State from the processes of EU militarisation.


"We will promote the primacy of the United Nations continue to seek badly-needed UN reform and capacity-building."ENDS

Positive Neutrality in Action

  • Enshrine neutrality in the Constitution and codify it in legislation.
  • Ensure Irish troops train and serve abroad only under the auspices and leadership of the United Nations, and only with prior Dáil approval.
  • Prohibit use of Irish airports, airspace, seaports, or territorial waters for preparation for war or other armed conflict by foreign powers or to facilitate any aspect of illegal acts such as the US Government's programme of 'extraordinary rendition'.
  • End Irish involvement in the arms trade and profit from war, including the use of Irish airports to transport arms to belligerent regimes.
  • Withdraw from the EU Rapid Reaction Force, Battle Groups and NATO's Partnership for Peace.
  • End Irish complicity in violations of international law and human rights abuses through mainstreamed human rights-proofing of all policy making and decision making at every level.
  • Work for a binding Protocol excluding Ireland from the processes of EU militarisation.
  • Actively promote demilitarisation of the EU, including nuclear disarmament.
  • Form alliances with other progressive, neutral states to promote a Human Security approach to international relations.
  • Actively promote UN primacy, as well as badly-needed UN reform and capacity-building to create a revitalised UN capable of fulfilling the promise of the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of upholding international law.



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