Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence
Permanent Structured Cooperation: Motion
We all know about the work done by our peacekeeping troops, of which everybody is very complimentary. Our peacekeeping troops are different from those of other countries. There is a great respect for them and nobody would deny them the equipment, capabilities and training they needed to do the work involved which they have been doing extremely well. However, there is still disquiet about the rush to join PESCO. Regardless of what the Minister of State says, it is a rush. There is a lack of public awareness. The public should have been given an opportunity to examine the matter. If the committee is discussing a topic, we try to bring in the different groups to hear a wide range of views. We will not get a chance to hear other views on this matter. We are only hearing the views of the Minister of State and the Department.
The Minister of State has mentioned four or five examples of the type of projects we are considering. Did he say they were part of a list of 16? It might be useful look at what the other possibilities are. Our identity in terms of our neutrality, human rights and humanitarian aid will be undermined by this arrangement. The Minister of State and his colleagues and officials are all convinced that this will not happen. Time will tell. We are risking an awful lot by rushing into joining PESCO without a national debate.