Defend Irish Neutrality – Oppose The Government’s “Consultative Forum” Stitch-Up

Everyone in the country has probably heard by now that the government is holding a series of “consultative forums” on “security and defence policy” starting this week.

People Before Profit has repeatedly pointed out how completely stacked these forums are. A solitary speaker from the anti-war movement is ranged against dozens of representatives from NATO, EU defence agencies, non-neutral countries and Irish military personnel that have served with NATO overseas. Backing them up are legions of EU-funded academics that favour increased military integration with the EU and NATO. Professor John O’Brennan from Maynooth University, is a typical example, stating that “We need to discard this childish + emotional attachment to a mythological “neutrality” + grow up”.

One of those who apparently needs to “grow up” is the President, Michael D. Higgins. He made a rare political intervention last weekend to warn that the government is “playing with fire” in “a dangerous drift” towards NATO and that we must avoid “burying ourselves in other people’s agendas”.

Opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Irish people agree. Large majorities have been in favour of maintaining Irish neutrality in every poll ever carried out on the subject, despite the endless stream of anti-neutrality propaganda coming from the political establishment and mainstream media. That’s why the government has refused point blank to let the people have their say. Last year, it unanimously voted down a People Before Profit Private Members’ Bill to hold a referendum to insert neutrality into the Constitution. Instead, it is holding these biased talking shops to try to manufacture consent for massively increasing military spending, dropping the Triple Lock that prevents Irish troops from being deployed in imperialist interventions overseas, and moving us closer to NATO.

Incredibly, despite having previously stated that Ireland’s military neutrality is “evolving” and must be an “important” part of the discussion at the forums, both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste are now claiming that the government has no intention of changing “Ireland’s policy of military neutrality”. This is a major climbdown and reflects the strength of public opposition they have generated.

The Irish Neutrality League, of which People Before Profit is a founding member, is organising its own series of alternative forums on Irish neutrality. We will also be organising protests outside the official forums, which we hope can become a major focus of opposition to the government’s warmongering agenda. We urge anyone who doesn’t want to see billions wasted on increased military spending or young people being sent off to die in imperialist wars to join us.