[Sinn Fein]

28 June 1996


Commenting on the forthcoming visit of the US Aircraft Carrier, JFK, to Ireland Sinn Fein Chairsperson, Mitchell McLaughlin said:

``Sinn Fein is totally committed to a position of neutrality and nonalignment, both in the context of the 26 Counties and of a future 32 County state.

``While welcoming the US Navy's declaration that there are no nuclear weapons aboard the John F. Kennedy, we believe that such `friendly' visits undermine our stated neutrality which defines our determination not to become involved in any future military conflict and our present determination to remain outside any military alliances.

``Sinn Fein views neutrality and nonalignment as a positive political statement, not as a political expedient to be set aside some time in the future.''

``Sinn Fein also believes that the whole of Ireland should be declared a nuclear free zone. For this to be effective visits by foreign ships should be required to declare whether or not they have nuclear weapons aboard and be open to inspection.

``Many people are rightly concerned that public money in the form of National Lottery funds is being used to facilite this visit.

``There is also considerable concern that this visit may be used to soften public attitudes to neutrality in light of the recent campaign to embrace the WEU and NATO by certain sections in political life in Ireland.

``In order to assuage these fears Sinn Fein believes that we should have a written constitutional statement of neutrality and nonalignment.''

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