The Dublin government has rushed legislation through parliament to join an EU militarisation project, with the complicity of Fianna Fail, in an apparent quid-pro-quo for the EU supporting its stance on Brexit.
A motion was passed in the Dail on Thursday for Ireland to join the EU PESCO [Permanent Structured Cooperation] agreement on advanced military and defence cooperation. The agreement requires the 26 County state to increase its share of expenditure on military research and technology to an extraordinary one euro in fifty of all public spending.
Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit said there had been collusion between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to “ram through” the decision to join PESCO.
He described it as a “supremely cynical move to dramatically increase arms spending and erode Irish military neutrality, without any public debate, using the cover of the current Brexit drama.”
Mr Boyd Barrett said the move would mean a dramatic increase in Irish military spending from the current level of 900 million euro annuals to close to 4 billion euro.
“This would commit Ireland to taking billions away from solving the current housing and health emergencies to spend on weapons. It’s absolutely outrageous that this is being done without any serious public debate whatsoever.”
Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has said that the vote in favour of Irish participation in PESCO not only threatened Irish neutrality, but that it also raised serious legal concerns regarding Irish defence policy.
“The decision by Independent Alliance TDs and Fianna Fail to back Fine Gael’s plan for Ireland to join PESCO shows a flagrant disregard for Irish neutrality,” she said.
As part of the state’s ratification of the Lisbon treaty, the Irish constitution had been amended to explicitly prohibit Irish participation in PESCO.
Ms Boylan stated: “Irish participation is not only unconstitutional but by voting in favour Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Independent Alliance have signed off on Ireland’s participation in a military alliance which is aligned with and intended to compliment NATO.”
Sinn Fein’s Aengus O Snodaigh said the move was an “absolute scandal” and hit out at the independent ministers in government.
“So much for the Ministers of State, Deputies Finian McGrath and Halligan and the Minister, Deputy Ross’s supposed support for Ireland’s neutrality. It will be interesting to see how their supporters react to this and how they can justify such a move,” he said in the Dail.
“When we raised this during the debate on the Lisbon treaty, we were told that we were scaremongering. Here we are a few years later, and we have been proven right. Ultimately, the minister is talking about going to war,” he said.
PROTEST AGAINST ISRAEL DECISION
Meanwhile, the Irish left denounced a move by the US to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in defiance of peace efforts in the Middle East.
US President Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy on Wednesday by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, angering the Arab world and dismaying peace activists.
The decision provoked protests near Israeli-controlled checkpoints in the West Bank and along the border with Gaza. At least 31 people were wounded by Israeli gunfire in response. Hamas urged Palestinians to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel in response.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) held a demonstration outside the US Embassy in Dublin in protest.
“This is a flagrant breach of the international consensus around a two state solution,” Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told the Dail.
He called on the government agree to formally recognise the state of Palestine in line with a decision of parliament three years ago, and to upgrade the Palestinian Mission in Dublin to that of a full Embassy.
“The situation in that region grows more desperate for the Palestinian people each day. The fabric of life for Palestinians is rooted in fear; it is arbitrary and constantly changing at the whim of the Israeli authorities.”