As noted on this website, Ireland has a traditional policy of military neutrality defined as non-membership of mutual defence alliances, but in the midst of the ongoing controversy regarding Brexit and the fate of the Irish border, a very significant move by the Cabinet has gone almost unnoticed. This is the decision to give the go-ahead for Ireland to take part in EU plans for closer cooperation on ‘security and defence’ matters.
This plan, to establish permanent structured cooperation, is known as PESCO:
“Article 42 (6) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) according to which those “Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a “view to the most demanding missions” shall establish permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) within the Union framework” – read more here.
The Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), and the Peoples’ Movement are organising a Conference on PESCO in Dublin on Saturday 17th February 2018, 12pm-5pm.
PESCO is justified under the catch-all excuse of combating the growing threat of terrorism, and comes with the ritual assurance that this poses no threat to Ireland’s traditional and highly-regarded policy of neutrality.
One of the consequences of joining PESCO is that Ireland would be asked to increase spending on weapons and military affairs, requiring a leap in defence spending from the currently planned €946 million for 2018 to an estimated €3 billion+ annually by 2020, constituting a further abandonment of our traditional non-aggressive foreign policy.
The single greatest action that Ireland can take to combat terrorism is to withdraw the facilities of Shannon airport from the US military for use in their wars of aggression, wars which have played a major part in increasing the global terrorist threat in the first place. Read more here.
Demonstrators have held regular marches to protest the use of Shannon Airport by the US military: read more here.
Rather than joining military structures which proclaim the efficacy of military ‘solutions’ to complex political problems the experience of Ireland’s history should be used to offer solutions to such problems through dialogue and negotiation.
With the ever-increasing numbers of homeless people on Irish streets – and unprecedented numbers of refugees seeking safety on European shores, many forced from shattered homes as a result of Western-backed wars and weaponry – it is scandalous that the government plans to spend more money on militarism, further destabilising an already impoverished and war-weary world.
Ardmhéara Mícheál MacDonncha
Lynn Boylan MEP, Lave K. Brock, People’s Movement, Denmark, Dr. Karen Devine, Luke Ming Flanagan MEP, Seamus Healy TD, Senator Alice Mary Higgins, Gino Kenny TD, Eamon Ryan TD
The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Conference on PESCO
Saturday 17th February 2018, 12pm – 5pm