Ireland must withdraw its troops serving in Afghanistan in order to “avoid any misinterpretation” of our policy of neutrality and our reputation as peace-keepers.
This is the view of Labour president and Galway West TD Michael D Higgins who is calling on the Government to withdraw seven Irish military personnel currently in Afghanistan.
Dep Higgins said in the interests of the Irish Defence Force’s “well-deserved international reputation” as well as their “mandate to act” from the Oireachtas, the Government must act “with credibility and consistency”.
He said Ireland must follow the Dutch example of withdrawing military personnel “to avoid any misinterpretation of our policy of neutrality in military conflict, and peace-keeping and conflict resolution”.
The Galway Alliance Against War has welcomed the statement but fears that should Labour enter alliance with Fine Gael after the next election, its position on such matters would be compromised.
“What will happen if and when Labour goes into government with Fine Gael?” a spokesperson for the group asked. “The latter are not only opposed to Irish neutrality, they are in favour of us joining NATO. Perhaps Labour should already start looking for more compatible coalition partners.”