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Irish Foreign Policy 1914 and 2014

Press Release 29/07/2014

In 1914 Ireland was a members of the British Union, and while there was a major disagreement over Irish Home Rule but both Home Rulers and Unionists accepted the Union's control of foreign, security and defence policy. Only the Fenians and the Connolly Socialists advocated the right of the Irish people to have their own independent foreign, security and defence policy.

Unlike the Home Rulers and the Unionist they rejected the decision of the British Union to take part in the Imperialist War 1914-18. All groups opposed to the war gave voice to their opposition to the war at a public meeting organised by the Irish Neutrality League in October 1914. Over the next few years opposition to the war grew and in the election of 1918 Sinn Fein won a decisive majority support of the people in favour of an Independent Irish Republic with its own independent foreign policy.

In 2014 Ireland is a member of the European Union. Fine Gael, Finna Fail and Labour as well as the Unionists support a European foreign, security and defence policy. The lastest example of the decision of the Irish government to support the EU's common foreign and security and defence policy was its decision to abstain on the UN Human Rights body seeking an enquiry on human rights abuse in Gaza. It also supports increasing sanctions and confrontation with Russia and advocates "additional military flights" through Shannon Airport.

These decisions to refuse to advocate an independent Irish foreign policy are dragging Ireland deeper and deeper into more and more wars and confrontation with a nuclear armed state which while no longer a superpower is still very formidable. As the Irish Government rejects an independent Irish foreign policy as advocated by PANA they, especially Fiann Fail should remember the words of Eamon De Valera on July 12 to Dail Eireann; " A small nation has to be extremely cautious when it enters into alliance which bring it willy nilly into those wars... we would not be consulted on how a war would be started-the great powers would decide that"

We need to restore Irish neutrality as a key component of our foreign policy before it is to late.

Roger Cole
Peace & Neutrality Alliance

17 Castle Street, Dalkey, Co.Dublin, Ireland.
- tel: +353 +1 235 1512 - email: - web: