[Sinn Fein]

13th February 2003

Government will be called to account on war stance

``Sinn Fein to introduce Neutrality Bill'' - Ó Caoláin

Speaking at Sinn Fein's press conference setting out their opposition to war on Iraq, the party's Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD announced that they would be using their first ever Private Members Time in the Dáil next week for a full-scale debate on neutrality by bringing forward a Bill to write neutrality into the Constitution. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The Irish Government's support for US-British war preparations makes it essential that it is called to account fully on the issue of neutrality.

``Both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have refused to say what their stance will be if the US and Britain attack Iraq either with or without a further United Nations Security Council resolution. They have not credibly refuted reports from their sources that they will do whatever is required of them by the Bush administration, including supporting an attack on Iraq without a further Security Council resolution.

``The Irish government is maintaining this position even though key NATO allies of the US and Britain are now dissenting from their headlong drive to war.

``The Irish Government is supporting the preparations for war through providing facilities at Shannon. At the same time they wish to maintain the illusion that this state is neutral.

``We wish to put that to the test. We will be publishing a Bill to write neutrality into the Constitution and we will use the first ever Sinn Fein Private Members time in the Dáil next week to debate our Bill. We look forward to the government setting out its policy in detail.''

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