[Sinn Fein]

9 September 2002

Sinn Fein calls on Government to ``strongly oppose'' war on Iraq

The Sinn Fein TDs have tabled a Dáil motion calling on the government to ``strongly oppose'' the launching of a new war against Iraq by the United States Administration and the British government. As Dáil Standing Orders deny Sinn Fein the opportunity to have the motion debated in `Private Members' (Opposition) time, the party's leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, has written to the Taoiseach seeking government time for a full debate on the international crisis. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``Governments around the world, including some within the EU, have been expressing their opposition to the launching of a war against Iraq. The Irish government has remained silent. We need to hear from the Government what they are doing to help prevent a disastrous escalation of conflict in the Gulf region and the Middle East. We also need to know if the decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to allow US military aircraft to use Irish airports and to train in Irish airspace will be continued if the US and Britain attack Iraq.

``The Dáil should express its strong opposition to what now seems like an imminent escalation of conflict. I urge the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to come into the Dáil to outline their position and not to allow the Dáil to adjourn for three weeks in the face of this international crisis.''

Text of Dáil motion

That Dáil Éireann:

Conscious of the new and highly dangerous international situation created by the appalling attacks in the United States on 11 September 2002;

Expresses its continuing sympathy for all the victims of the 11 September atrocities;

Voices its concern at the worsening situation in Palestine and Israel and urges the compliance by the Israeli government with United Nations resolutions and an end to its military occupation of the Palestinian territories;

Reiterates its commitment to the peaceful resolution of all international disputes and calls upon the Irish Government to -

Strongly oppose the launching of a new war against Iraq by the United States Administration and the British government, a war which has the potential to escalate far beyond Iraq with catastrophic consequences throughout the region and worldwide;

Cease immediately the practice of giving permission to foreign states to refuel, re-supply and train military aircraft in Irish airports and Irish airspace and to use Irish seaports for their naval vessels;

Use all its political and diplomatic resources in the United Nations and the European Union to promote a peaceful solution.

Deputies Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Seán Crowe, Martin Ferris, Arthur Morgan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

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