Pesco arrangement and neutrality

 

Sir, – The Government has given the go-ahead for Ireland to take part in EU plans for closer co-operation on “security and defence” matters. This plan, known as Permanent Structured Co-operation (Pesco), is justified under the catch-all excuse of combating the growing threat of terrorism. The decision comes with the ritual assurance by Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe that this poses no threat to our traditional and highly regarded policy of neutrality.

One of the consequences of our joining Pesco is that we will have to increase spending on weapons and military affairs. Is this a priority at a time of extreme hardship being experienced by many people in our own country and of escalating global poverty?

Afri opposes this development as a further manifestation of the growing abandonment of our traditional non-aggressive foreign policy and of the trend towards ever-increasing militarism.

The single greatest action that Ireland can take in order to combat terrorism is to withdraw the facilities of Shannon Airport from the US military for use in wars of aggression, wars which have played a major part in increasing the global terrorist threat in the first place.

And rather than joining military structures that proclaim the efficacy of military “solutions” to complex political problems, we should be using the experience of our history to offer solutions to such problems by means of dialogue and negotiation.

It was dialogue and negotiation rather than the use of military force, after all, that brought an end to the long war on our own island.

With the ever-increasing numbers of homeless people on our streets – and unprecedented numbers of refugees seeking safety on European shores, many forced from their homes as a result of western-backed wars and weaponry – it is scandalous that the Government is planning to spend more money on militarism, thus further destabilising an impoverished and war-weary world. – Yours, etc,

JOE MURRAY,

Director,

Afri,

Phibsborough,

Dublin 7.