AN Independent councillor believes Michael D Higgins should be thanked for highlighting the ‘dangerous undermining of Irish neutrality currently being facilitated by the coalition government.’
It comes as the government is holding Consultative Forums, starting today, on Irish Neutrality and President Michael D Higgins voiced his concerns about deviating from Ireland’s traditional policy on neutrality.
In a recent interview, President Michael D Higgins told the Business Post, Ireland is “playing with fire”, and the panels are made up of “formerly neutral countries who are now joining NATO”.
Cllr Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig said instead of recognising Higgins’ valuable and timely interjection, a cynical campaign has been whipped up to distract attention from his crucial contribution to an issue of enormous importance to every person in Ireland.
“Why this issue matters so much is quite straightforward.
“By remaining neutral and rejecting involvement or alignment with any and every military block, we avoid inviting the devastating consequences of contemporary warfare.
“The alternative, joining in military pacts with other countries, offers no protection. On the contrary, it would simply make us a target.
“Consider for a moment what Michael D said. ‘Ireland is playing with fire during a dangerous period of drift in foreign policy- and should avoid burying itself in other people’s agendas’. It is possible to disagree with this assessment.
“In a recent interview with the journal.ie Brig Gen Ger Buckley, who manages both the Irish state’s military engagement with the European Union and Nato is quoted saying, ‘… I lead the military element of our office out in Nato, which is a very small office. I see partnership for us as giving us opportunities and benefits’.
“This makes it abundantly clear that Michael D has every reason to be concerned,” said Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig.
Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, recently announced his intention to convene the Consultative Forum on International Security Policy to start a discussion on Ireland’s foreign and security policy.
The Forum is designed to build public understanding and generate discussions on our foreign, security, and defence policies.
The Forum will focus on a wide range of issues, including Ireland’s efforts to protect the rules-based international order through peacekeeping and crisis management, disarmament and non-proliferation, international humanitarian law, and conflict prevention and peacebuilding as well as allowing for a discussion on Ireland’s policy of military neutrality.