Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD, has said that the government’s proposed Forum on Foreign Policy is a blatant attempt to undermine Irish neutrality.
Speaking today, Teachta Carthy said:
“Instead of a Citizens Assembly on neutrality, the government want a handpicked group of European military experts and academics leading with a conversation to get the outcome that Fine Gael want which is an entire dismantling of neutrality.
“The government’s proposed Forum on Foreign policy is a blatant attempt to undermine Irish neutrality.
“Neutrality serves our country well. It allows Ireland to play a constructive role in advancing peace and justice across the world. It also keeps Irish citizens safer.
“We have had more than 20 years of undermining neutrality by stealth, instead of using our position of neutrality as a position of strength for the EU and on the wider international stage.
“We are strong supporters of multilateral institutions which must work. The presence of military neutrals and non-aligned countries should be critical interlocutors in advancing the work of peace, disarmament and social justice.
“Our status as a neutral nonaligned state has been a key strength of Ireland’s contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping missions over the last 65 years. The Irish people support this and recognise the unique role that Ireland can play internationally due to this status.
“The next step is the recognition and acknowledgement of military neutrals and non-aligned countries within the EU treaties and EU basic law. That must happen within the Constitution of our country also. This would be a hugely positive step forward and would add to the diplomatic repertoire and scope of the European Union. The government must focus on that instead of attempts to undermine neutrality.”