Tuesday, August 16, 2005


To hell with Irish neutrality!

I hear that Defence Minister Willie O’Dea is set to bring proposals to Cabinet at the end of September to pave the way for Irish troops to participate in EU military battle groups and rapid reaction forces.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Dea accepted that the main problem remained reconciling participation in battle groups with Ireland’s policy of neutrality.

Mr O'Dea also made reference to the so-called triple lock guarantee which stipulates that Irish troops can only be deployed abroad if the mission is sanctioned by the UN, the Government and the Oireachtas.

Mr O’Dea insisted the Government was fully committed to the triple lock but would also like to see Irish troops participating in battle groups.

"If the Irish army is participating in an operation with two other countries (as part of a battle group formation), that will require interoperability or joint training. At the moment, we would not be the lead country in the battle group.

"How are foreign troops (which are part of battle groups) going to come to this country under their own command? That’s illegal as the law stands at the moment. In fact it’s unconstitutional.

"As far as our troops going abroad are concerned, we have to have a United Nations mandate. That’s one problem. The main problem really is how are we going to gel it in with the triple lock," Mr O'Dea said.

Let me be brutally honest with my feelings on Irish neutrality - Irish neutrality is bullshit. It really pisses me off to hear about "the Irish tradition of neutrality". What tradition? The Irish Free State only came into existence in 1922. Since that time there was only one conflict in which our neutrality was properly tested and that was World War II and even in that war we weren't really neutral. We gave the British far more assistance than a neutral country ought to give. Our "tradition of neutrality" is a sham.

What is the point of an army if you're not going to use it? Watch all the moaning, bleeding hearts come out to slam any potential threat to our precious tradition. These people seem to have overlooked the fact that our whole history is built on conflict and indeed our national anthem even glorifies it! We have an 800 year tradition of fighting which seems to have slipped the minds of these whingeing wussies. The same whingers who no doubt bemoan the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. The efforts by the US to tackle terrorists, some of which beheaded an Irish-born woman, is just too much to stomach for some people.

I say we consign the "tradition of neutrality" to the dustbin of history. It remains one of the last vestiges of dear old Oireland and it's time we got rid of it. This is the 21st century and other nations are standing up to play their part in the shaping of a better world. A world which will not be dictated to by an insane few who cling to their traditions as well as seeking to impose them on others.

Ireland has a role to play in this century. It's time we called this "tradition of neutrality" what it really is - an excuse to do nothing. Must we sit around with head buried in the sand whilst other nations strive to improve this planet of ours? That's not neutrality. That's cowardice.

It is my belief that a part of being Irish means to fight for what you believe in. To stand up for your principles and your convictions. As far as I'm concerned, that is our true tradition and one we must acknowledge once more.

I know what tradition I value. Do you?


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