Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central and European Election candidate for Ireland South Billy Kelleher has accused Sinn Féin of attempting to undermine public confidence in the EU by dishonestly claiming that an EU army is being created.

Deputy Kelleher said, “Sinn Féin hypocrisy knows no bounds. The party has always sought to undermine the EU and has refused to acknowledge the co-operation, ideas and resources which have benefitted this country as a result of being an EU member.

“Now it’s seeking to pedal its inaccurate propaganda to create a sense of fear among the public about a European army. In so doing, they are aligning themselves with Nigel Farage and the hard right wing of the British Tory party.

“Let me be clear, Permanent Structured Co-Operation (PESCO) is not about creating a European army or undermining our neutrality. It’s about deepening our co-operation with other member states in the Union.

“It’s about working together, sharing knowledge, pooling resources and ultimately about ensuring peace and stability across the EU as a whole. At a time where Ireland and indeed the world, is vulnerable to cyber security attacks, PESCO would allow us to work with other member States to research and develop new technologies to counter these threats.

“Sinn Féin is trying to use fear to spread its anti-EU message. Its claims are completely dishonest and dangerous. Fianna Fáil wants to ensure that Ireland has a voice that fully represents Ireland in Europe, not a narrow party-political interests. We will not compromise Irish neutrality, nor will we sacrifice the ability to give greater protection to our citizens”, concluded Deputy Kelleher.