[Sinn Fein]

9th August 2002

Iveagh House flagrantly breaches position on neutrality - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has accused the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Government of ``flagrantly breaching our country's stated position of neutrality'' and has insisted that the Departments latest accommodation of two US military supply vessels in Cobh later this month has made ``a nonsense of the so-called declaration of neutrality from the Seville Summit''.

The Sinn Fein TD made his comments as the Department of Foreign Affairs admitted that two US military supply vessels, that are part of a pre-positioning fleet of the US marine Corps are to be allowed to dock in Cobh harbour later this month. And he again called for neutrality to be enshrined in the Constitution. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``News that the Department of Foreign Affairs is to allow two US military supply vessels, who are part of a `pre-positioning fleet' for the US Marine Corps, to dock in Cobh Harbour at the end of the month is a worrying development. Coming as is does at a time when the US Administration seems intent on convulsing the whole Middle East region with an unjustified and deliberately manufactured war on Iraq it is clear that Iveagh house is flagrantly breaching Ireland's stance on neutrality.

``The present government has so corrupted the ideals behind Ireland's historical and positive stance on neutrality that they have made a complete mockery and a nonsense of their own much publicised declaration from the Seville Summit.

``I would again call for Irish neutrality to be enshrined in the constitution so that it can be properly and rigorously guaranteed.''

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