REPORT ON IRISH NEUTRALITY, 1997/98
- John Goodwillie
This report aims to mention some of the main features of the
year,Äôs developments in the field of Irish neutrality.
During the general election campaign, we took the view that the issue of Irish neutrality should be raised. Members of the Executive attended the Democratic Left Annual Conference in April in order to distribute a leaflet; we also brought along a ballot box to vote against the Partnership for Peace and for neutrality, and the attitude of Minister Proinsias de Rossa was covered in the Irish Times. A press conference was held in the run-up to the general election to which all parties were invited but only Sinn F©in sent a representative; PANA, AFRI and Pax Christi also spoke and outlined their positions .
We maintained our affiliation to the Peace and Neutrality Alliance. Billy Fitzpatrick spoke at a PANA conference on the Amsterdam Treaty and Irish neutrality in October.
A press statement was issued on 18th February in relation to the picket organised by AFRI on the American Embassy to protest against the threats being made by the US towards Iraq.
A press statement on the Amsterdam Treaty was issued on 26th January calling for a vote no in the referendum. Subsequent to this, the Executive explored the possibility of engaging a worker in the run-up to the referendum. While this did not happen precisely in this form, Carol Fox and Brd McGrath are now doing some campaigning work with us. As the Treaty will be discussed separately at the AGM I will not go into the arguments further.
We made a submission to the Referendum Commission on the arguments to be used against the Amsterdam Treaty. This was based on the article inserted in Peacework.
On the broader scale, there has been much attention during the year to the expansion of NATO to the East, initially to take in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. This has raised a considerable amount of opposition in the US, both on the groundsof the undesirability of treating Russia as hostile but also often on the grounds on the money that will have to be be expended by the American taxpayer in buying new weapons for the armies of these and other countries to be brought into NATO in the future. The US Senate has been discussing this matter this week and so far I am not aware of a decision.
to Irish CND page on neutrality