Mitchell calls for end to Irish neutrality

02/12/2004 - 16:35:39

Fine Gael MEP for Dublin Gay Mitchell has said the time has come for Ireland to get off the neutrality fence and take part in an EU common defence policy.

He was today as the EU force known as EUFOR formally took over peacekeeping duties from NATO in Bosnia.

The EUFOR contingent contains a battalion of Irish troops.

Mr Mitchell has said Irish neutrality is a sham and the Government should own up and recognise that.

“I want an end to Irish neutrality in the context of a common EU defence which is coming, and I think we should be negotiating it in terms to best suit Ireland, where we could participate in a case-by-case basis.

“By keeping our head down and refusing to inform the public, by refusing to debate the matter, we are missing an opportunity to draft the rules to suit ourselves.”

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