Richard Boyd Barrett TD, has condemned the government with the support of Fianna Fail for tabling a Dail motion this Thursday for Ireland to join the EU PESCO agreement on advanced military and defence cooperation.
Deputy Boyd Barrett, who is a member of the Dail Business committee, will strongly protest at the attempt to table and vote on this motion this Thursday despite the fact that this was not agreed at last week’s Business Committee.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “It looks like there may be collusion between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to ram through the decision to join PESCO and that it is a “supremely cynical move to dramatically increase arms spending and erode Irish military neutrality, without any public debate, using the cover of the current Brexit drama.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that the PESCO agreement requires participating member states to “regularly increase defence budgets and increase the share of expenditure allocated to defence research and technology with a view to reaching 2% of total spending.”
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “This would mean a dramatic increase in Irish Defence spending from the current level of 0.5% (€900 million) to close to €4 billion annually. This would commit Ireland to taking billions away from solving the current housing and health emergencies to spend on weapons. It’s absolutely outrageous that this is being done without any serious public debate whatsoever.”
“It really looks like the government may have done a cynical deal with the EU that, in exchange for European support on the Brexit negotiations, Ireland will sign up to a deal that involves us in a plan to advance the project of a European Army, increasing arms expenditure and significantly strengthening the European Military Industrial Complex.
“A quadrupling of Irish arms expenditure from 0.5% to 2% is every bit as economically and socially significant and damaging as the potential estimated impact of Brexit, yet while there is wall to wall debate about Brexit, there is no public or media discussion about PESCO and the government are trying to ram it through without anyone noticing.”
“We need to ring the alarm bells about PESCO urgently and I would appeal to the media also to start shining a spotlight on this hugely significant and disgraceful move.”