Ireland And NATO
Sir, - Our Minister for Defence was wise to express doubts about the wisdom of Ireland becoming directly involved in the activities of NATO, as you reported (March 1st) when reviewing his speech on February 28th to his European Union colleagues. It is to be hoped that this is a belated return by Fianna Fail to the thinking on foreign policy in Frank Aiken's day, which won this country so much credit all over the world.
To all "great" powers, small countries are either their pawns or their victims. Swift learnt this for Ireland early in the 18th century - read his impassioned pamphlet "On the Conduct of the Allies" - and Tone at the end of it when Ireland was in danger of being drawn by Britain into a war with Spain that was none of our business.
The Fenian leadership in the next century opposed the foreign policy of imperial Britain as inimical to our national interests. In the last century Connolly here and Larkin in the United States denounced the murderous policies of the powers that devastated so much of Europe and cost millions of human lives between 1914 and 1918. De Valera frequently spoke at the League of Nations about the sinister attitude of the "great" powers when their own alleged interests could be forwarded by bullying or bribing the governments of small nations.
The last thing Ireland needs today is to be associated with, for example, the foreign policy of Britain conducted by people subservient to big manufacturers of armaments who have been providing them with bomber aircraft which can't launch bombs and rifles that tend to jam, the rehabilitation of which, according to a recent broadcast, will cost a sum that could be enough to guarantee running fresh water to every household in Africa lacking it, an aim that every government should have instead of equipping its armed forces with futile weapons in the interest of merchants of death. - Yours, etc., John De Courcy,
President, Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Dalkey, Co Dublin.