Sir, – Stephen Collins is not alone in his attempts to degrade the concept of Irish neutrality in the eyes of the Irish public (“A diplomat wondered why we outsource our defence to the British. He has a point”, Opinion & Analysis, April 29th; “Notion that our neutrality is widely respected abroad is an Irish self-delusion”, Opinion & Analysis, May 26th).
Over the last number of months he has joined sections of the media, and indeed our own Tánaiste, in wondering “what neutrality means in today’s world”, code for the idea that our neutrality is old hat and not fit for purpose.
All of this has been framed as an existential crisis, with the clearly implied threat that the Russians are coming to get us.
Stephen Collins’s latest attempt to undermine the argument for neutrality is to claim that Ireland is not respected abroad for its militarily neutral stance.
Why does that matter a jot?
This country does not exist to impress other countries, to fall into line with their expectations, or to be cowed by the prevailing attitudes of the time.
We should hold firm to our neutrality for Ireland’s sake, and not worry about some nebulous idea of international perception. – Yours, etc,