Sir, – Against the backdrop of the Government's attempt to win a seat on the UN Security Council, Suzanne Lynch states that in recent weeks Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has been "vocal on several international issues" ("UN to determine election format for key council seat", World News, April 28th). Surely Mr Coveney has been "vocal" on only one topic recently – Israel?
Mr Coveney has, for example, been largely silent about China's ongoing aggression against its poorer neighbours. As Peter Goff reported on Monday, this has taken the form of ramming Vietnamese and Filipino fishing vessels and building huge military bases on bits of rock off both states' coasts ("Beijing eyes South China Sea as other countries distracted", World News, April 27th). In recent weeks China has conducted naval exercises around the tiny democratic state of Taiwan. Ominously for Taiwan, which China claims, the Chinese navy is rapidly building a fleet of amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers. These ships will certainly enforce its dubious claims for exclusive ownership of all oil, gas and mineral deposits under the South China Sea.
Ireland remains mostly silent about all this as it does with Turkey’s similar behaviour in the Mediterranean, where it is claim-jumping gas deposits that Greece, Cyprus and Israel are attempting to exploit jointly.
Irish foreign policy has for long blithely ignored Israel’s right to security and protection from terrorist attack.
In contrast Canada and Norway, our competitors for a seat on the UN Security Council, are serious players when it comes to dealing evenhandedly with international conflicts.
Either would deserve a place on the UN Security Council. By any measure Ireland doesn’t. – Yours, etc,