Tuesday, 21 November 2017
European Security Strategy
I reiterate to the Senator that this does not place in question Ireland's traditional policy on neutrality. We must bring it to Cabinet, which I did this morning, and I am delighted to say it was passed by Cabinet. In the very near future I will proceed to bring it to the Dáil for full ratification under the triple-lock mechanism.
The Senator mentioned the 1940s. We face a very different Ireland from that of the 1940s, but I very much respect her views, the views of the people in the 1940s and the views of every other Minister and Member of both the Upper and Lower Houses on defence policy. The Senator mentioned peacekeeping. PESCO was welcomed by the UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping at the UN peacekeeping conference in Vancouver last week, which I attended on behalf of the Irish Government. There are a huge number of positives in PESCO for peacekeepers, including for members of our own Irish Defence Forces. One of the most important things is to work with like-minded countries, which we do in peacekeeping and common security and defence policy, CSDP, operations. It is very important we are at the core of PESCO yet reflect our own policy on neutrality. This is very much reflected in the final PESCO document where it states categorically its recognition of "the specific character of the security and defence policy of all Member States". This reflects our own policy on neutrality. There is also acknowledgement of the constitutional provisions of member states.These are two very important lines in the PESCO document, and I directed my officials to ensure our neutrality standing was very much reflected in the final documentation.