Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Protecting Irish neutrality more important now than ever

Pringle: Protecting Irish neutrality more important now than ever

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said protecting Irish neutrality and raising awareness of its importance and contributions to global peace are more important now than ever.

Addressing the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “I wholeheartedly support this motion and particularly its calls for Government to hold a referendum to enshrine neutrality in our Constitution, to raise awareness of the importance of neutrality and its contribution to global peace and to ensure the inspection of civilian and military planes traveling through Irish airports to verify that they are lawful.

“This conversation is more important now than ever, with the war in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in Palestine attracting global attention recently. It is at this time that our neutrality will mean the most and it is at this time that our voice is most important.”

The deputy said: “We are a small, neutral nation. Our strengths have always been in peacekeeping and speaking out against injustice, not in military might. This is something we should be incredibly proud of and are. Neutrality gives us a standing, it gives us an important voice that other countries will listen to.”

Deputy Pringle was speaking in support on the Independent Motion re: Neutrality and thanked his colleague, Deputy Catherine Connolly, for bringing it forward.

The deputy said: “Maintaining our neutrality does not mean that we condone the atrocities that are occurring across the world. We will always stand up for what’s right and do all in our power to sanction the perpetrators and assist the victims.”

He said abandoning neutrality only serves to facilitate wars.

The deputy said: “It only serves to please European and American leaders that this government is so desperate to appease, despite the fact that the response from both have been constantly appalling, particularly in recent weeks. The American and European community were very quick to speak in solidarity with Israel recently, after having ignored the oppression and the mass bloodshed of the Palestinian people for decades. We in Ireland have a very proud history in speaking out against Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians and recent protests around the country have shown just how differently we view the situation than American and European leaders do.

“We have consistently shown in this country that our military neutrality does not equate to political neutrality. We always have been and always will be outspoken on international matters,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “I would like to take this opportunity to again condemn the U.S. military’s use of Shannon Airport in its ongoing criminality across the world. We cannot continue to facilitate the US in their wars. In 2022 there were 480 flights through Irish airports carrying weapons – 465 of those were through Shannon. That is a shocking figure that goes completely without comment here in this neutral country. In 2021 there were 259 flights through Shannon, so the question has to be asked: Are we facilitating war by the increase in arms-carrying flights?”

The deputy said: “I see in the Government’s amendment to this motion, that the scaremongering regarding cybersecurity has continued. The idea that we should abandon our neutrality in order to protect our fibre optic cables is absolutely ridiculous. The government’s recent criticisms on both neutrality and the Triple Lock, and questioning whether it is fit for purpose, is extremely concerning.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We absolutely must protect our neutrality. On an international political stage, neutrality must not be confused with apathy. We care deeply for the plight of the oppressed, colonised, and displaced, those who face hardships at the hand of governments, terrorists and other nations.” However, he said, “It is vital that we maintain a neutral stance in terms of engagement.”

He concluded: “Protecting our neutrality allows Ireland to protect the oppressed.”