Coveney, Simon

Friday, 6 March 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Thirty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution (Neutrality) Bill 2013: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)

I welcome the opportunity to respond on behalf of the Government to the proposed legislation. I convey the apologies of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, who can...More Button

Ireland's approach to international relations is founded on a full and active engagement in the international community in support of international peace and security and the rule of law. We follo...More Button

Since 1958, the Defence Forces have made an extraordinary contribution to such UN missions and some members have made the ultimate sacrifice. As a nation, we are very proud of the role the Defen...More Button

As of 1 March 2015, Ireland is contributing approximately 429 Defence Forces personnel to 11 missions throughout the world. The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are deplo...More Button

Concern has been expressed at various times, including this morning, about Ireland's participation in NATO-led operations. I again highlight the fact that NATO-led operations such as the resolut...More Button

Ireland's co-operation with NATO is conducted through the Partnership for Peace, PfP, which we joined in 1999, following approval by Dáil Éireann of the presentation document. Our purpose in par...More Button

Concerns have also been expressed at various times that our participation in the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union has posed a threat to our military neutrality, which is n...More Button

What has developed in the context of CSDP operations with military elements is that the Union now engages in a wide range of crisis management operations, invariably in support of or in partnersh...More Button

In regard to EU missions and operations overseas, Ireland has the right of veto over launching any mission. Also, it must be recognised that our triple lock would prevent Irish troops from parti...More Button

At the time of the Lisbon treaty, our European partners responded to provide absolute clarity for the European Union at large and Ireland, in particular, around the security and defence issues. ...More Button

I will come to them. Perhaps the Deputy might learn a little about them.More Button

These are matters entirely outside the scope and competence of the European Union and are solely matters for individual decision by each of the member states, as are the battle groups of which Irel...More Button

While Ireland is committed to a policy of military neutrality, we need to be clear that Ireland is not ideologically neutral. Political neutrality in international affairs has never been part of...More Button

Ireland is an outward looking country which continues to play a proactive role in preventing and managing conflicts and keeping peace.More Button

In addition to broad political support, the policy of military neutrality enjoys widespread public support. While I agree with Deputy Seán Crowe on that matter, I am not sure this extends to sup...More Button

The Deputy should listen to what I have to say.More Button

I will repeat my previous point. In its final report, the Constitutional Convention addressed other issues which citizens and interest groups would have liked it to discuss. However, it was not p...More Button

Accordingly, in view of the strength and long-standing nature of this commitment, reiterated by successive Governments spanning the political spectrum, the Government is satisfied that there is n...More Button

Military neutrality has always been a matter of policy and principle, rather than law. The instigators of the policy never sought to enshrine it in law and successive Governments have continued ...More Button

I will briefly address the issue of the Government’s policy on the use of Shannon Airport by United States aircraft. Claims will be made that this policy is incompatible with our neutrality. Su...More Button

I have set out the context in which the Bill must be considered. Government policy on neutrality is unambiguous. Effective safeguards are in place to protect Ireland’s military neutrality, whil...More Button

That is not the Government's attitude.More Button

I did not make such a link. The Deputy is being disingenuous.More Button

I said it was a matter of trust.More Button

Hear, hear.More Button

We asked and the Deputy agreed.More Button