Ireland is a small country with an equally small defence force. In the unlikely event of the country being militarily attacked or invaded this force would not survive for long.

At the moment the government is pushing to increase the defence force budget. If agreed, this increase would result in the purchase of more weapons and armour.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, the political establishment has been pushing for a “debate” on Irish neutrality. Coalition leaders talk about not needing a constitutional referendum to join NATO and of amending the triple lock.

Micheál Martin recently attended a meeting of NATO in Spain. External pressure is being applied on Ireland to increase its defence spending as well as becoming more active in EU battle groups with the ultimate aim of joining NATO.

In general, the public is proud of Ireland’s perceived role in UN peacekeeping missions. Of late, however, these missions have been revealed to be more peace-enforcing. For example, Ireland’s involvement in Mali is in support of the former colonial power, France.

Similar missions have taken place in other countries, for example, East Timor, Liberia, and Chad.

People Before Profit supports the greater use of the defence forces an effective and efficient super civil defence organisation. This would include a state-of-the-art search and rescue organisation, both on land and on sea. All air ambulances could come under the remit of such an organisation. The force would be used to deal with flooding and forest fires as well as being an aid to local councils assisting with civil works projects.

During the recent mass vaccination programme, defence force personnel did much of the administration work in the vaccination centres.

By not spending money on arms, armour and attack aircraft, resources could be channelled into health care, education, housing, and welfare. Less money spent on arms would also mean more money for the pay and conditions of staff.

People Before Profit supports a referendum to copper fasten Irish neutrality and every measure that undermines the profits of the military industrial complex.

We campaign for the right of defence forces staff to decent pay and conditions, as well as full rights to trade unionisation, including the right to engage in industrial action.