Hanging neutrality out to dry

De Facto

FIGHTING FUTURE? Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that Ireland will have to reexamine its position as a neutral country in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the cyberattack on the health service last year.

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

“The EU was originally created with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. The Schuman Declaration, which encouraged the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, laid the foundation for the European Union as we know it today.” That’s according to the EU Info Centre.
So why then did the EU send €500 million of arms to Ukraine? European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack. This is a watershed moment.” The Department of Foreign Affairs stated that Ireland would not contribute financially to the weapons package but rather to the ‘non-lethal’ part of the package. (Cue Clinton not inhaling.)
Last month, an opinion poll by the Amárach polling group showed that 76 percent of Irish people still favour neutrality. The sample was 1,000 people, and 15 percent were in favour of dropping neutrality, while 9 percent were unsure. Yet, the Government narrative now appears to be that we should reexamine our neutrality.
Why? To appease the war machine that is now enveloping the EU? What started as a ‘common market’ is fast becoming a military entity.
Allow me to use ‘EU speak’: EUGS sets out a clear vision for CFSP and CSDP missions. Ireland, as part of EUGS, engages in PESCO on security and defence. (EUGS = EU Global Strategy; CFSP = Common Foreign and Security Policy; CSDP = Common Security and Defence Policy; PESCO = Permanent Structured Cooperation.)
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website, the EU’s CSDP ‘provides the EU with the capacity to undertake peacekeeping and conflict prevention missions and to strengthen international security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter’. How does half a billion in weapons fit into that definition? The only way to prolong a war is to feed it more weapons, fact.
The Government tells us: “…our EU partners have always fully respected Ireland’s sovereignty, independence and neutrality. The legal guarantees given by the European Council in June 2009 confirmed that the EU’s security and defence policy does not affect or prejudice Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality. The deployment of contingents of more than 12 Irish troops to any conflict zone or CSDP mission cannot proceed without what we call the ‘triple lock’ of UN authorisation, Government approval, and Dáil approval.”
So why the rush to become a fully paid-up member of a military alliance?
Ireland was once known as the Island of Saints and Scholars. That mantle is long shredded but that does not mean that the collective conscious of the Irish has embraced a sense of militarism. Far from it. Why not, as a country on the periphery of the EU, adopt the status of being a peace-loving and peace-making country?
This would ensure that out neutrality is not a passive entity but a positive force. The only current upside is the welcome Irish/EU response to displaced Ukrainians.
We have a proud history as UN peacekeepers. Let’s keep it that way rather than trigger quicklime body bags with mangled remains of young Irish people. Let our war be to fight for peace on the battlefields of Dáil Éireann, Brussels, Strasbourg and Capitol Hill using the weapons of diplomacy, tact and wisdom.  
Politicians bailed out crooked banks and big pharma, and now the masters of war await. When will the BS stop? Does FG want a return to Blueshirt days before a stupefied FF? Galway TD Catherine Connolly (Ind) puts the main parties to shame on neutrality.  
This is not an apologia for Putin and his murdering thugs, not one iota. He and his ilk must face justice for war crimes, for using the innocent citizens of Ukraine and young Russian conscripts as cannon fodder.
But we in the west also have to wake up. We turn a blind eye to the Yanks misusing Shannon for ‘fake’ wars and clandestine rendition operations. We pretended not to hear when NATO and supporters reneged on commitments given to Russia in the wake of German reunification.
Truth is the first casualty of war … and also of peace.