Ireland’s history of neutrality, a long-standing principle, positions us as an impartial force for good, diplomacy, and conflict resolution within the international community. Consequently, Ireland has a key responsibility to encourage parties in conflict to engage in peace talks and negotiations with the clear goal of ending wars.
However, a steady erosion of Ireland’s neutrality has advanced, for example, hosting the US military at Shannon airport and funding the development of a European Union military industrial complex. Ireland is also attending NATO meetings and hinting at joining military alliances.
Any further degradation of our neutrality compromises this vital role for international diplomacy during times of conflict and war and places Ireland precariously aligned to larger imperial Nations.
Neutrality is a principled position taken by Ireland that, under international law, requires impartiality in refraining from supporting or helping either side in a military conflict, thereby reducing the potential for prolonging or intensifying war.
Irish neutrality is supported by 4 in 5 people in Ireland because it reflects Ireland’s identity and values internationally, and in practice, has kept Ireland out of the horrors of modern war and is the basis for providing a beneficial and positive role in global politics. “
In the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, Bunreacht na HÉireann, Article 28 states:
“War shall not be declared, and the State shall not participate in any war save with the assent of Dáil Éireann”
with Article 29 stating that :
“Ireland affirms its devotion to the ideal of peace and friendly cooperation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality.”
The benefits of Irish Neutrality include:
Irish Neutrality demonstrates that Ireland is a country that values its contributions to UN membership and that we can deploy our humanitarian services and diplomats on more robust and beneficial missions. This has shown to be highly beneficial in:
Irish Neutrality has ensured we have been striking an independent path for peace, allowing us to be a more established and effective agent for peace promotion within Europe.
Ireland’s Neutrality is being eroded by a succession of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments which have betrayed the popular will of the Irish people by aiding and abetting the US military in its destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria through decades of government policy which inexplicably allowed the US Army to effectively use Shannon as an overseas military base.
Such damage to our Neutrality is in Contravention of Article 28 and 29 of the constitution as well as the 1907 Hague Convention on Neutrality.
In 2017, Fine Gael rushed through a Dáil motion for Ireland to join PESCO – the Permanent Structured Cooperation. PESCO is described as “an ambitious, binding and inclusive European legal framework for investments in the security and defense of the EU’s territory”.
There is a legal imperative for participating states to:
EU leaders are trying to build Europe up as a military super-state and create an EU army. Ireland could abstain but the government is supporting these moves. Here are some of the key developments.
There is increasing evidence of Ireland’s strategic relevance to NATO. Armed NATO member State vessels from Britain, Canada, France, and The Netherlands all docked in CORK Harbor in violation of our Neutrality in 2022.
Ireland’s decaying neutrality is demonstrated in its treatment of the people of Palestine.
Ireland was the first European state to declare that a solution to the oppression of the Palestinian people would be a fully sovereign Palestinian state. However, the lack of serious sanctions against the Israeli government demonstrates that our foreign policy is deeply flawed which has led to settler colonialism secured through apartheid, illegal occupation, brutal violence, collective punishment, and the mass imprisonment of Gazans. Given Ireland’s own history of being colonized we should work actively towards supporting Palestinian self-determination.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail’s blocking of the Occupied Territories Bill which would see the banning of all goods and services produced in illegally occupied territories of Israel only – a moderate and reasonable bill underlines the hypocrisy of their international outlook.
The Israeli military’s treatment of Palestinian people has been confirmed as an occupation by the International Criminal Court, while the treatment of the Palestinian people by Israeli settlers and the Israeli military is beyond brutality and a serious abuse of human rights.
There have been simmering tensions between Russia and Ukraine for many years. In the East of Ukraine a significant minority of Russian speaking people have sought independence or autonomy from Ukraine citing ethnic attacks by Ukrainian Nationalists following instability after the Euro maiden clashes in 2014.
The People in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declared Republics and engaged militarily with the Ukrainian army culminating in an Internationally brokered ceasefire resulting in the Minsk agreements which were ultimately broken.
Regardless of the cause, however disputed, Russia has since broken international law in invading Ukraine and is condemned for this aggression. What is also clear is the influence of the US, the EU, and NATO which, in providing military and financial assistance to Ukraine have escalated tensions into a larger conflict involving Nuclear Powers.
On 30 September 2022, Russia declared its annexation of four Ukrainian territories – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Saudi / UAE invasion of Yemen must be condemned equally. The escalation of these wars by certain NATO powers for their own ends must also be condemned.
The Russian military must withdraw from Ukraine and the Saudi and UAE military forces from Yemen. NATO powers should stop escalating these brutal wars.
The right of both the Ukrainian and Yemeni people to defend themselves from these hostile acts of aggression is recognized but all efforts should be made to get unconditional ceasefires and for diplomatic negotiations to bring about lasting peace.