Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has urged people not to allow Ireland to be sleepwalked into an EU Army.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking as Sinn Féin launched their Defending Irish Neutrality document in Leinster House.
“This document, which outlines the absolute necessity of our neutrality, not just for Ireland but for Europe, stands in stark contrast to the one released by Fine Gael last year, which actively encouraged the creation of an EU Army,” she said.
“The threat to Irish neutrality is not an external one. Fine Gael have long been cheerleaders for militarisation in Europe while Fianna Fáil were only too happy to help whisk PESCO through the Dail without a proper public debate.
“Sinn Féin is the only party that can be trusted to defend Irish neutrality both at home and in Europe and it’s crucial that we do.
“Our neutrality will not only defend Ireland but it acts as a block to the full creation of an EU army, which is why Fine Gael are so opposed to enshrining it in our constitution.
“The increasing militarisation of Europe is also seeing huge funding needed for vital social and economic programmes being diverted to defence spending.
“In 2017, Fine Gael voted to adopt the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) which signalled an alarming shift in the EU towards militarisation.
“Funding of €500 million will be reallocated from other programmes in 2019 and 2020 to fund the EDIDP. Worse still, the EDIDP is only the precursor to the the much larger European Defence Fund, a €13 billion military funding scheme.
“This is what militarisation means. It has nothing to do with defence but with profit margins for the military-industrial complex.
“Our plan would ensure that Ireland’s reputation as a strong peacekeeper is upheld and respected, that Shannon Airport would no longer be used as a military base for US soldiers, that the ‘Triple Lock’ is implemented in full and that our position as a neutral state is affirmed and respected by the EU.”