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Irish Neutrality ‘not Minister Flanagan’s to throw away’ – Boylan

21 July, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has slammed comments made by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan on RTE’s Drivetime Show.

The Minister was commenting on the visit to Ireland by French President Francois Hollande who is an active proponent of an EU army.

Minister Flanagan said that the EU must speak with one voice on Defence.

Speaking from Dublin, the Sinn Féin MEP said 

“It seems the Minister needs a lesson in neutrality; how can Ireland possibly claim to be neutral if it is aligning itself with military aggressions carried out by other EU Member States?  Many of the conflicts that EU member States are involved in are as a direct result of their colonial past and continue to destabilise regions.

“It is not possible to try to impose democracy through the use of force and yet some member states, France included continue to try to do just that without ever learning from their mistakes.

“Ireland has a strong history of neutrality and peacekeeping, something that Irish citizens are proud of.

“Minister Flanagan also suggested that Ireland would reinforce the Irish Army presence in Mali to free up French army personnel.  Sinn Féin opposed the sending of army personnel to Mali in the first place as it was not a UN peacekeeping mission.   A UN report from the OCHR outlined gross violations of human rights by Malian troops and criticised the Malian government for allowing their army to act with impunity.

“Any attempt to reinforce the numbers of Irish army personnel in Mali will be resisted by my party and we will demand that it be brought before the Dáil to be voted on.  Despite Minister Flanagan and Fine Gael’s desire to run roughshod over Ireland’s neutrality, it is not theirs to give away.” 

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