Military neutrality in a changing world

A policy of freeloading

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – A letter (May 27th) claimed that neutrality is not freeloading and is a sustainable value in today’s world. It wasn’t a sustainable value for Norway, Denmark, Holland or Belgium in 1940. Clearly Finland and Sweden don’t think it’s sustainable today and have abandoned neutrality for Nato membership. Ireland may not be at the same risk because it lies between the UK and the US. However, there is no such thing as zero risk. If Ireland as a country took neutrality seriously, it would recognise that it can’t expect any other country to defend it. It would take adequate measures to defend itself. Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria, as neutrals, have always recognised this and have maintained a robust military and their own independent arms industries. There is no evidence that Ireland takes adequate measures to defend itself. The evidence is that it expects nothing will happen, and if there is an aggression, the UK and US will support Ireland. That is freeloading. – Yours, etc,

GERARD McDERMOTT,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.