Irish military neutrality must be protected by the Constitution to ensure we never join military alliances like NATO, according to People Before Profit.
The party will next week bring a bill before the Dáil calling for a referendum on Irish neutrality.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, PBP TD Paul Murphy said there is a campaign underway aimed at undermining Irish neutrality and pushing the country towards military alliances.
He said the new bill would make Irish neutrality a Constitutionally protected position.
“The way we define neutrality is, firstly, no participation in military alliances – which would cover alliances like NATO or the CSTO,” he said.
“Secondly, not allowing Ireland to be used to transport war material or soldiers to participating conflicts by other countries – which would end the use of Shannon Airport, which more than two million US soldiers have gone through on the way to the Middle East.
“Thirdly, the only way the State would participate in war is in conditions whereby the State is under attack – either invasion or actual attack. So, it would not participate in armed conflict otherwise.”
He said the vote was to “shackle” the current and future governments to neutrality.
“There is a campaign underway by those who want to get rid of neutrality and those who would have us participating in NATO,” he said.
“What the government would like to do is to erode neutrality without having a public debate about it.”
Deputy Murphy said recent comments from foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney about the new European Reaction Force and Ireland’s ‘triple lock’ mechanism underlined the need to the referendum.
European Reaction force
Earlier this week, Minister Coveney said the Irish Defence forces would likely participate in the EU’s new 5,000 strong European Reaction Force.
He said Irish troops could only be involved in as far as the forces action comply with Ireland’s triple lock mechanism – which prevents the deployment of troops on any mission that does not have UN authorisation, Government approval and Dáil approval.
He warned however, that he felt the triple lock should be subject to a “future debate”.
"Juvenile and immature"
Also on the show, security and defence analyst Declan Power said Deputy murphy’s arguments were “juvenile and immature”.
“It’s not good enough in this day and age, when there is such a shifting series of elements within the international security landscape, to try and shackle the Irish state at a time where it needs to be looking at exploring and taking whatever steps it deems necessary to protect its people and secure its territory,” he said.
He said Ireland needs a bespoke system of arrangements that allows us to respond to threats relating to everything from energy security to cyber security, protecting our intellectual property and counterespionage.
“What I am in favour of is independence in course of action for this country,” he said. “To take the appropriate steps, whether it is about protecting our territory or having whatever relationships or cooperation are necessary.
“I am not saying we should sign up to NATO – I don’t think that would be a good idea for this country for a number of reasons.
“It is about allowing ourselves to participate in appropriate missions that govern the St Petersburg Tasks – which are crisis management and peacekeeping.”
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