Category: Archive

SF neutrality plan attacked

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

“Most people would agree that Sinn Fein has some nerve lecturing constitutional parties in Dail Eireann on neutrality and peace,” O’Donnell said during the debate on the party’s proposal.
Fine Gael’s Dinny McGinley said it was a “truly bizarre situation” when the political wing of an illegal military organization called on the Dail to amend the constitution to include a new wording on neutrality.
“It is said that wonders never cease,” he said.
The Sinn Fein leader in the Dail, Caoimhghin O Caolain claimed the government had “strayed very far” from the principle in Article 29 of the constitution which says the state is “founded on international justice and morality.”
“Throughout its two terms of office since 1997, it has steadily eroded Irish neutrality and independent foreign policy,” O Caolain said.
“This was done by joining NATO’s so-called Partnership for Peace without the referendum promised by the taoiseach, by signing the treaties of Amsterdam and Nice and, most recently and most shamefully, by the government’s conduct in the current international crisis.
“Irish neutrality is in tatters after the government’s mishandling of international affairs and this bill is designed to reestablish our neutrality on a solid foundation,” O Caolain said.
He added that the government acted not only as if it were already a member of NATO but also a member of the U.S.-British faction on Iraq.
O’Donnell claimed the Sinn Fein proposals would “introduce passivity, pacifism and impotence” into Ireland’s ability to uphold the international law that’s at the center of foreign policy and constitutional commitments.
“Such a disabling of our democratic institutions and of our constitutional principles has obvious parallels with the republican movement’s failed attempt to subvert the state by violence over many years,” she said. “How ironic that what Sinn Fein failed to achieve by violence, it now seeks to achieve by law.”
O’Donnell said that in the past Sinn Fein held itself superior to the constitution, the Dail and the state.
“It contributed nothing 66 years ago to the construction of our constitution and has contributed very little since 1937. What mattered to Sinn Fein back then, and what still seems inordinately important to it, are its ideology and its paraphernalia, the self-styled army convention, the army council, etc.”
She said the Sinn Fein proposal had “raised a few eyebrows.”
“The same party has for years, and with great ferocity, sought to subvert the 1937 Constitution and all it stands for, including Article 29,” O’Donnell said.
“It worked actively against the policy of neutrality by collaborating with the Nazi regime against the state and the government of Ireland, as well as against the democratic Allied forces.
“Latterly, it pursued its alleged commitment to international peace through arms deals in the Libyan desert, and in fostering fraternal links with ETA terrorists in a fellow EU member state.
“Its claimed commitment to the demilitarization of Europe apparently excludes the tons of Semtex in its own republican hands. Its claimed commitment to the rule of law does not extend to co-operating with police investigations into the Omagh atrocity.
“We all know its alleged belief in neutrality allowed republicans to shoot members of our legitimate defense forces and the Garda Siochana.”
She said the best contribution Sinn Fein can make to peace is to “get on and deliver on decommissioning republican guns and Semtex,” co-operate with legitimate police forces and to discontinue its “dubious international networks and activities.”
Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe said people on the huge anti-war march in Dublin knew “we are assisting in a war which can have nothing but disastrous consequences for the Iraqi people and others living in the region.
“The World Health Organization has estimated there may be as many as 500,000 casualties. The government tells us that playing our part in the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people does not, and will not, affect Irish neutrality.
“The government is, not for the first time, lying to the Irish people,” Crowe said.
“As if part-paying for America’s build-up to war was not bad enough, we now have the surreal situation where Irish troops, whose first responsibility is supposed to be to protect the Irish people from foreign threats, are being deployed to protect foreign troops against the Irish people.”

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