Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD, has accused the Tánaiste of lacking any mandate to drop the triple-lock neutrality protection.
He said that rather than undermine Irish neutrality, the government should be prioritising investment in the Defence Forces and addressing the recruitment and retention crises within the army, naval service and air corps.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Irish neutrality, and having an independent foreign policy, is a strength. It is valued and supported by the Irish people. On the international stage, neutrality has underpinned our contribution to peacekeeping and diplomacy. It has never been a weakness.
The Tánaiste’s proposals to abandon the triple-lock neutrality protection breaches multiple commitments given to the Irish people, particularly during the Nice and Lisbon EU referenda. It represents a fundamental and negative shift in Irish foreign policy.
“With both the Fianna Fáil 2020 General Election Manifesto and the Programme for Government clearly committed to the retention of the triple lock, the government has no mandate to abandon this core policy that underpins Irish neutrality.
“In fact, even the Chairs Report of the Tánaiste’s so-called Consultative Forum found that there was ‘no public appetite for a change to the current position on neutrality’.
“Ireland’s Neutrality and Independent Foreign Policy have served us well, we cannot allow Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or the Green Party to cast it aside. If the government is determined to proceed then the least they should do is allow the people to decide in a referendum.
“What Micheál Martin is trying to do is to change the proud role of Irish troops from peacekeepers to conflict participants. He needs to spell out where he foresees Irish troops being deployed without a UN mandate.
“Sinn Féin’s motion before the Dáil seeks to protect Irish neutrality and to ensure investment in our Defence Forces so that they can continue in their proud tradition of taking part in United Nations mandated peacekeeping missions.”
Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion can be read here.