Responding to the publication of the Green Paper on Defence today, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Seán Ó Fearghaíl has reaffirmed the party’s commitment to the retention of the triple lock of Government, Dáil and United Nations sanction that has guided Irish participation in international peacekeeping for so long.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “The document published by Minister Shatter today puts the Triple Lock up for debate which is a point of major concern for my party. Although Minister Shatter has never explicitly called for our neutrality to be abandoned, his distaste for it is manifest from virtually all his public utterances. So when we hear that he has his sights on the Triple Lock it is natural to be concerned.
“Furthermore, in opposition under Enda Kenny’s leadership, Fine Gael brought forward a Bill to remove the Triple Lock. The party also produced a policy document called ‘Beyond Neutrality’. Now while I find it unimaginable that Fine Gael and Minister Shatter will get their way on this I think it is nonetheless important that a message is sent to the government at this stage that the Triple Lock should be retained and we will do everything we can to retain it.
“My party warned about this policy prior to the last election – as did the Labour party. Typically though, when the programme for government was drawn up, the Labour policy on the Triple Lock went the way of the commitment to child benefit and student college fees.
“I want to reaffirm Fianna Fáil’s commitment to the Triple Lock. We are strong and committed supporters of collective security through the United Nations and while we acknowledge that the UN it is not perfect, we must recognise that it confers a legitimacy on peacekeeping operations that other international organisations cannot do.
“Furthermore the legitimacy a UN mission confers, in my view, bolsters the safety and security of our Defence Forces during operations. Obviously no mission will be without risk but we strongly believe that the absence of the blue hat will heighten the risk. This emphasis on the UN is not one we should lightly discard and we will campaign to retain it.”