First meeting of the Oireachtas Neutrality, Peace and Disarmament takes place

The inaugural meeting of the Oireachtas Neutrality, Peace and Disarmament group took place in Leinster House today (4/7/18) and was attended by independent and cross-party TDs and Senators.

The initial meeting was chaired by independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins and addressed by Roger Cole, Ed Horgan and Frank Keoghan of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance. 

The group formed in response to the shared concerns of many members around the government’s recent decision to join the EU military cooperation agreement, known as PESCO – an agreement which does not mention peace or peacekeeping once in its founding text and indications by some members of the Government party that they might seek to dilute our traditional military neutrality. They also share concerns about the wider issue of arms expenditure and the importance of protecting Ireland’s constructive and powerful international role as a neutral nation which has historically championed peace and disarmament. 

Ed Horgan noted that the government’s current campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council did not mention neutrality. The group agreed to call on the Government to clearly reaffirm neutrality within their bid for Security Council membership. 

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins commented, “Ireland needs to value and reaffirm the neutrality which has underpinned our proud record of multilateralism, our historic role in disarmament and our international reputation as credible peacekeepers and peace brokers.”

The next meeting on September 19 will discuss the defence aspects of the budget and the potential impact of PESCO on overall spending. 

Over 40 parliamentarians have expressed an interest in the group

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