Why I Disrupted Varadkar at the Neutrality Forum: Padraig O’Maoinaigh

The much maligned Consultative forum on Neutrality hit Dublin today having been to Cork and Galway Universities last week.

Both events last week were marked by Anti-War and Neutrality protests widely covered in the media which called out a hypocritical position by the Irish Government. Today would be no different.

The government mantra has been in harmony with that of the NATO states which are citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a definitive departure in International peace and security, blind to the decades of imperialist war involving NATO countries.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is far more complex than the Irish government will accept. This present conflict does not mean Ireland must run into the arms of NATO, but the Irish government does appear to be using it as such a vehicle.

We supposedly live in a democracy but it is only lip service. It’s clear that successive Irish governments have betrayed Irish Neutrality and have not been made accountable to the people.

The Irish government sanctioned logistical support to the US Military through Shannon airport for the last two decades, which, in close collaboration with the British, killed over a million people in their very own illegal invasion in Iraq. Many Years of death and destruction have reigned in on Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya from the self appointed armies of the free world.

The Irish government erosion of Neutrality which runs counter to the spirit of the constitution is well advanced. Our Integration into PESCO as celebrated today by the Taoiseach is another breach of Neutrality. Since Russia invaded UKRAINE, an action I strongly oppose, the Irish government have ramped up its rhetoric around militarization regularly breaching Irish Neutrality by collaborating with NATO.

In the last 12 months At least 6 Warships visited this state. During this time constant reference to Ireland not being politically Neutral could be heard from government. When exactly did we divide Neutrality into such selective compartments?

Active Neutrality cannot be effective if you do not preserve diplomatic relations.

You can oppose wars and support people caught in conflict by humanitarian aid and do so without taking sides in a conflict because of the deliberate intention to preserve your position as trusted  peacemaker when inevitably negotiations begin.

Arbiters and facilitators of peace are in short supply as NATO collects further territories in Sweden and Finland.

The writing has been on the wall for some time in relation to Neutrality. When mechanisms of democratic participation are bypassed, in favour of a heavily biased forum who’s findings are to legitimise government policy, those within the peace and Neutrality community feel compelled to challenge the leaders of the government.

This was what I tried to do when I asked the Taoiseach that if he truly believes in democracy he will commit to a referendum. The subsequent response came after my departure from the venue but it wasn’t really a response at all.

The Taoiseach stated that we do not need a referendum not to join NATO when they are not imminently attempting to.

My question is on enshrining neutrality itself given its been abused for many years and evidently  without sufficient constitutional protection. Ireland is destroying neutrality by a thousand cuts and it must stop. This is why we need a referendum to truly have the debate and let the people decide.
If a recent IPSOS poll by PANA is anything to go by then the people will choose to strengthen Ireland’s Neutrality and act as honest brokers in International diplomacy to bring about peace and reconciliation.

What I found lamentable today as I entered Dublin castle was that just over a century ago the ICA attacked this building in an attempt to remove imperialism from Ireland, yet today I fear the present government is intent on signing us up to the very same thing.