Athlone based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed Ireland’s joining of the Pesco defence pact, which will allow member states to co-operate in developing military capabilities, to invest in shared projects and to enhance their respective armed forces.
Speaking in the Seanad this week, she stated that this is an important development, as defence is the ultimate guarantee of our freedom.
“I value that freedom and I believe that it is worth defending,” she said. “The threats to Europe and to Ireland are changing and we must be willing to put in place measures to meet challenges such as terrorism, cybercrime, and the trafficking of drugs and people.”
Some have criticised the Government’s decision to join Pesco, claiming it undermines Ireland’s traditional stance as a neutral country. Senator McFadden has rejected such views.
“There has been some negative and ill-informed commentary about the establishment of Pesco, much of it emanating from quarters that would be happier to see the breakup of the European Union,” she said. “Involvement in Pesco does not change our neutrality. Ireland remains a non-aligned country, as do Austria, Finland and Sweden, who are all neutral and members of Pesco.”
Senator McFadden added that supporting the European Union can only enhance the country’s international reputation, and that she is in favour of Ireland playing its part in defending freedom both at home and in a European context.
“I am in favour of Irish men and women playing a role in defending Europe from terrorism and gun-running, from cybercrime and hacking, and in helping to prevent the trafficking of drugs and people. I believe that in doing so that they are enhancing our freedom, both as a nation and as part of a union,” she concluded.