8 April 2001
TDs urged to back Neutrality Bill
Sinn Fein has called for all-party support for a Bill to incorporate Irish neutrality into the Constitution which was was moved in the Dáil last Thursday by Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution Bill, 2001, is being jointly sponsored by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Sinn Fein), Trevor Sargent and John Gormley (Green Party), Joe Higgins (Socialist Party), Séamus Healy (Independent) and Tony Gregory (Independent).
The Bill seeks a referendum to amend the Constitution to include the guarantee that the State ``shall maintain a policy of non-membership of military alliances''.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
``The government claims that the Treaty of Nice and Irish involvement in the new EU Rapid Reaction Force and NATO's Partnership for Peace do not undermine Irish neutrality. If this is the case then the government should have no difficulty supporting this Bill to give a constitutional guarantee that the State will not join any military alliance and will maintain neutrality. I urge the Government to facilitate the passage of this Bill through the Oireachtas and to put the Neutrality Amendment before the people in a referendum.''
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