Republican News · Thursday 06 April 2000

[An Phoblacht]

EU Army of 60,000 on the way

Neutrality Amendment Campaign launched

Proposed Amendment to 1937 Constitution

Airteagal 29.2

Dearbha íonn Éire fós gur mian léi go ndéanfaí gach achrann idir náisúin a réiteach go síochánta le headráin idirnáisiúnta nó le cinneadh breithiúnach. Chun na críche sin, cloífidh an Stát, go sonrach, le polasaí gan a bheith páirteach i gcomhghuaillíocht míleata.

Article 29.2

Ireland affirms its adherence to the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes by international arbitration or judicial determination. To this end the State shall, in particular, maintain a policy of non-membership of military alliances.

When is an army not an army? When it is an EU ``military force'' of 60,000 troops. The EU plans to establish this force by 2003, according to the former head of NATO Javier Solana. He was speaking on a visit to Dublin on the same day that the Peace and Neutrality Alliance launched a new campaign to write neutrality into the 1937 Constitution.

Solana is now the European Union's first High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and the new head of the Western European Union.

He is effectively the Foreign Minister for the entire EU but was elected by nobody. Yet the Dublin government is fully on board with the plans spearheaded by Solana to create what is in reality an EU Army.

On Thursday, 30 March, the day of the Solana visit, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance called a press conference to announce the publication of a piece of proposed legislation entitled the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill. The Bill requires a referendum to write neutrality into the 1937 Constitution. Joining PANA Cathaoirleach Roger Cole at the press conference were Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Green MEP Patricia McKenna, Labour Senator Brendan Ryan and Green TD John Gormley.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

``I am proud to co-sponsor the draft Bill to place neutrality firmly in the Constitution. It falls to us to bring forward this amendment now following the betrayal of the people by the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats government, which brought this State into NATO's so-called Partnership for Peace last November. This was done in flagrant breach of the Taoiseach's own promise to the electorate to hold a referendum on any proposal for entry to PfP.

``This government, therefore, had no mandate to compromise our neutrality, as it has done. A constitutional guarantee of neutrality is necessary now to protect the people from the actions of a government which has exceeded the democratic authority which derives from the people.

``Since the night of shame in the Dáil when Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael combined under the banner of NATO and brought this State into PfP, the erosion of Irish neutrality has quickened apace.

``Only a month after Irish PfP entry, at the EU Helsinki summit in December, the process of creation of an EU military alliance and an EU army was accelerated. We now have Department of Defence representatives attending EU Defence Committee meetings, as confirmed in the Dáil yesterday by the Taoiseach. The distinction between NATO, the Western European Union and the EU is becoming more blurred with each passing day.''

The Sinn Féin TD said that Javier Solana's CV ``speaks for itself'' and that it alone makes clear the direction being taken by the EU:

``Writing in the Irish Independent today, in an article entitled `Ireland must support EU reaction force', Mr Solana says: `We have set ourselves the ambitious goal of developing by 2003 the capacity to mobilise and maintain in the field for up to a year a military force of up to 60,000 personnel capable of undertaking the Petersberg tasks.' And he tells us that this is not an EU army!

``In the wake of the Helsinki summit the small parties in the Dáil - Sinn Féin, the Greens, and the Socialist Party - were denied the opportunity to speak on the matter. As all questions to the Taoiseach on this issue were ruled out of order, we were deprived of any opportunity to give our view. The same happened yesterday in relation to last week's Lisbon EU summit. I have written to the Taoiseach to protest at this undemocratic exclusion of this TD and others.''

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