[Sinn Fein]

17th May 2003

Ó Snodaigh calls on Government to come clean on neutrality

Sinn Fein spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking following the publication of today s MRBI poll in the Irish Times, said  OEten years of government mis-information has created confusion on the issue of neutrality.  He called for a full debate on the issue and for neutrality to be enshrined in the Constitution.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``It is little wonder that there is confusion in the public mind regarding neutrality. Over the last ten years successive Irish governments have steadily eroded neutrality by stealth.  While publicly insisting that they are deeply attached to neutrality, this government, throughout its two terms of office, has been drawing us further and further away from an independent foreign policy into support for military alliances. 

1997 - Joined NATOs Partnership for Peace without the promised referendum

1998 - Signed Amsterdam Treaty

1999 - Described the bombing of Kosovo as warranted

2001  -Supported the Nice Treaty, which sets up a common foreign policy committee

2002 - Allowed US military to use Irish airports on their way to the Gulf

2003 - Entered the coalition of the willing without a UN second resolution or support of the Dáil

``It is time for the government to come clean on what its actual position on neutrality is and to clearly set out their foreign policy position.

  ``Sinn Fein is calling for a full public debate on neutrality.  We want to see it enshrined in the Irish Constitution and the Government made accountable to the Dáil in relation to facilitating or participating in any war or other armed conflict.''

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