Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., refutes Sinn Féin claims on defence issues in the Reform Treaty
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., responding to Sinn Féin claims said that -
- “Sinn Fein this afternoon claimed that the Minister for Defence did not give correct information on the content of the Lisbon Reform Treaty during an interview earlier today. In fact, it is Sinn Fein which is once again trying to mislead the public on these matters”.
- “As the Minister for Defence made clear, there is absolutely no threat to Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality. The Reform Treaty contains several safeguards for Ireland’s distinctive national position”.
- “First, and most important, unanimity continues to be the rule in security and defence matters. This means that we preserve our veto over any proposal or crisis management mission with which we disagree”.
- “Sinn Fein has attempted to muddy the waters on this point. They have suggested that a smaller group could undertake missions in the name of the Union, and we would have no control over the actions of this smaller group”.
- “This is simply wrong. We retain an absolute veto over any EU mission. The Treaty allows the Council – acting unanimously – to entrust a particular mission to a smaller group of states. This reflects the current reality, where not all Member States participate in all missions, for example the mission to Chad. But such missions can only be launched with the unanimous approval of all Member States, regardless of whether they participate or not”.
- “Separately, a smaller group of Member States can decide to participate in what is called permanent structured cooperation. This would be for purposes of training, logistics or capability development. It emphatically does not involve engaging in missions on behalf of the Union without the approval of all Member States. Ireland can choose to participate or not in future permanent structured cooperation”.
- “Our own national prohibition on participation in any future EU common defence remains. This prohibition is being repeated in the planned amendment to the Constitution. The triple lock also remains in place. This requires a UN mandate and Government and Dáil approval of any participation by Irish soldiers in an overseas mission”.
- “Sinn Fein should stop trying to scare the people on these sensitive matters, where the Irish position is in fact fully protected”.
13th May 2008