Public meeting on Government’s White Paper on defence

The Government’s White Paper on defence has attracted scant media comment, but if implemented, will see Ireland increase military spending, “deepen” its relationship with the EU, OSCE, and NATO, and be required to work closely with the European Defence Agency.

For many, the White Paper is a worrying development, as it raises questions about the State’s neutrality, the State being obliged to act in wars as a member of the EU, and in forging links to the arms industry. As a result, the Galway Alliance Against War will host an information meeting in Richardson’s, Eyre Square, on Wednesday September 23 at 8pm.

The speaker will be Carol Fox, a longstanding researcher and activist in the Irish peace movement. Ms Fox previously worked as a researcher with the Green Party, but resigned her post after the Greens entered coalition with Fianna Fáil. Speaking in advance of the meeting she said:

“One of the most alarming elements of the White Paper on Defence is the cosying up of Government departments and the arms industry. Section 4.9 sees the need for the stepping up of Irish universities’ research capabilities in the area of military research and ‘improving the potential for Irish enterprise to compete for defence contracts.’ This is a dangerous evolution in Irish enterprise policy.”

Ms Fox also accused the Government of “hiding its intent” through the document’s “widespread use of euphemisms”.

“An example of this comes in section 2.2.7,” she said, “where the securing of energy supplies are discussed: ‘Uninterrupted energy supplies are a key factor in both EU and Irish national security, and require stable, well functioning suppliers. Ensuring that these states continue to function may necessitate external assistance – both civilian and military.’ At first glance this may appear harmless, however, when one juxtaposes ‘uninterrupted energy supplies’, ‘external assistance’, and ‘military’ it can mean only one thing, resource wars.” The White Paper can be read at www.defence.ie/WebSite nsf/WP2015E.

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