Government campaign to undermine neutrality must end

Sinn Féín MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the Taoiseach to clearly lay out his stance on Irish neutrality to the people rather than continue with his campaign of quiet subversion against it.

The Ireland South MEP was speaking as it was revealed that the Government is to expel a Russian diplomat from the country following the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agents in England.

“The manner in which this expulsion has been carried out is the latest in a long list of actions from Fine Gael designed to undermine Irish neutrality,” she said.

“I have no issue with the expulsion of any diplomats from this country if they are found to be acting as spies. However, I am gravely concerned by our government’s willingness to dance to the tune of the British Government and take such rash action on little more than the word of Theresa May.

“We have seen no evidence that the person being expelled has done anything wrong and in an unprecedented and hugely worrying step are acting based on information from a foreign intelligence service; one, I might add, with a grotesque history here.

“Any such action should only be taken based on the information gathered here by Irish security analysts.

“This incident alone would be cause for concern but the fact that it comes just days after Fine Gael MEPs voted for a new military research fund, just weeks after they launched a document proposing we scrap neutrality and only a few months after the Government, with the support of Fianna Fail, succeeded in sneaking PESCO through the Dail, under the nose of the Irish people without a proper debate, is proof, if it were needed, of a significant ramping up of the campaign against Irish neutrality.

“If this government wishes to change Ireland’s constitutional position of neutrality then they should come out and say that. They should present their position to the people and let the people have their say.

“What they should not be doing is attempting to bit by bit undermine our neutrality with a subversive campaign of death by a thousand cuts.

“I suspect the reason they won’t be open with the Irish people on what their views on our neutrality are is because they know exactly how the Irish people would respond.”

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