Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has accused Fine Gael MEPs of insulting the intelligence of the Irish people with an alarming assault on Irish neutrality.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after Fine Gael unveiled ‘Ireland and the EU: Defending Our Common European Home,’ a discussion document on ending Ireland’s policy of neutrality.
Ms Ní Riada rejected the paper as an insidious move towards the militarisation of Ireland and the EU.
“I am, frankly, stunned at the contents of this document,” she said.
“It amounts to little more than a thinly veiled, profoundly alarming assault on Irish neutrality.
“While they are quick to point out at the start of it that they are not in favour of the militarisation of the EU or an EU army the subsequent 14 pages go on to lay the groundwork for just such an eventuality.
“The language and proposals laid out in it are of a most insidious nature and advocate the use of Irish waters for strategic EU military interests, the expansion of a major military-industrial complex here and the threat of force to secure foreign energy sources.
“In a single paragraph it manages to advocate standing by our traditional position of military non-alignment before instantly suggesting that we should reconsider that policy and then leaping to a referendum on having that policy removed.
“Worse still, in a single sentence that will appal those concerned about housing, health and other vital infrastructure, the document claims that defence spending ‘must be prioritised now that the financial crisis is over.’
“This is Trumpian politics. To suggest that this document is anything other than an attempt to smooth the way for the gradual creation of an EU army is an insult to the intelligence of the Irish people, particularly when other EU leaders, such as Emmanuel Macron, have openly advocated exactly that.
“I would encourage everyone to read this document to see the level of contempt Fine Gael have for Irish neutrality and would urge them to contact their local Fine Gael representative and let them know just how much we value that neutrality.
“Ending neutrality is a policy Fine Gael have been advocating for 20 years and this document represents a serious ramping up of that campaign. Make no mistake, this is the thin end of a wedge that if not stopped now will see Irish soldiers being committed to NATO style conflicts in the not too distant future.
“Our Defence Forces have a proud and noble history of peacekeeping around the world. We cannot allow Fine Gael to sully that reputation or put Irish lives on the line for military adventurism.”