“Fine Gael Incrementally Seeking to Push Ireland into a European Army” – Tóibín
Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín has criticised Coveney's decision to back more EU training of Ukrainian troops
Speaking today, Peadar Tóibín said “We’ve seen the Fine Gael government take a stagist and incremental approach to pushing Ireland towards a European army. This year alone, Vardkar claimed that he would have the votes to secure a yes vote for Ireland joining an EU army, in July the government expanded Ireland's participation in new PESCO projects and now Coveney is backing joint training of Ukrainian troops. This transparent agenda needs to stop.”
Tóibín continued “The Irish people overwhelmingly support Irish neutrality. This has been shown again and again in polling. It’s something that the people are very proud of and is a mark of our national sovereignty. It’s a disgrace that the government are pushing us towards a European army step by step”
“Irish neutrality is a foreign policy tradition stretching back over the centuries. Irish political leaders from Theobald Wolfe Tone, Daniel O’Connell to James Connolly have advocated neutrality as a way to serve the common good and prevent militarism. Historically small countries have rightly been sceptical of the intentions of Military Blocks and it's clear that small countries such as Ireland would have little or no influence on the decisions of large Military Blocks. Having young men and young women participate in wars that he have little or no influence on would be a grave mistake”.
“Active neutrality allows for a courageous non-aggressive engagement with the rest of the world. Our record on UN peacekeeping, nuclear non-proliferation, decolonization, accepting refugees, significant aid to developing countries and supporting Palestinian self-determination has given us an internationally recognised position of an honest broker. We are well placed to push for peace, de-escalation and negotiated solutions. The problem is under Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil we don’t exercise this competency. Our government has increasingly outsourced our international policy to the European Union. Now Fine Gael want to use this crisis to plug us further into the development of a European Army”.
“The Irish people of Ireland strongly support Irish neutrality. The RTE/RedC exit poll in May 2019 showed 82% of the country in support of Irish neutrality. There is no doubt that the shocking invasion of Ukraine by Russia has created a strong desire in Irish people to help. There is no doubt that we should not stand idly by. We should be actively agitating for peace. I see no evidence of this by the government. Also there is a catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding before us. We have in no way exhausted the help that is need or that we can provide. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is needed. Before we consider providing lethal force, surely we must ensure that hospitals have the medicine they need. That food, water and heat are provided to those fleeing and that we provide a shelter for those seeking refuge.
“At the same time that the government is staking steps towards military activities in Europe, they have shown nothing but disregard for our own Defence Forces. The state refused to implement the Technical Pay Agreement agreed in July 2019. I have been told horror stories of soldiers sleeping in cars and working three jobs due to the inequitable pay and working conditions. The Government needs to stop pushing for an EU army and focus on the crisis in our own Defence Forces” continued Tóibín