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Question: Are you in favour of an EU Army?

No candidate was in favour of a European army.

In our audit of the Ireland South European election candidates, we asked each candidate to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years. 

Are you in favour of an EU Army? 

Liadh Ní Riada

No.

The militarisation of the EU is indicative of everything that has gone so badly wrong with the European project. We see billions of public money going to military industrialists when it should be going to social programmes that benefit the lives of ordinary people. A massive €13 billion has been ring-fenced in the next EU budget for military spending.

We need MEPs who are willing to stand up for Irish neutrality. Sinn Féin sought to enshrine this principle in the Constitution. It was blocked by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. This should sound as an alarm bell as to their future intentions in Europe.

Sadly, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in favour of an EU army and they support billions going on militarisation. This has serious knock-on effects for CAP and for social cohesion programmes.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil who claim to be concerned about defence are more interested in the profits of wealthy military industrialists than in the plight and hardship of Irish soldiers, sailors and airmen who are struggling to get by on abysmal pay and conditions. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Andrew Doyle 

Source: Nick Bradshaw

The first responsibility that this state has to its citizens is to protect them. Security is a fundamental function of any democratic state.

We invest in our security to protect our fundamental freedoms and our rights as Irish and European citizens. We have to benchmark ourselves against similar sized member states regarding our expenditure on security and our preparedness against threats.

I would not be in favour of an EU army, but do support greater cooperation with other MEPs and Member States on security and defence matters to ensure that all our citizens are protected from new global threats such as terrorism, cyber threats and human trafficking.

We are facing the reality that Member States want to do more in the area of security and defence, and we need to be part of that debate.

The security this State provides to Irish citizens must always be reviewed as new situations emerge. In that context, I will be supporting our Defence Forces in making sure that they have the equipment, the resources, the career paths and the operational capacity to do their job in defending this country.

Breda Gardner

No.

Peter O’Loughlin

God no.

Jan Van De Ven

NO, we do not have a directly elected parliament (MEPS) with true legislative powers. The decision to go to war should not be decided by a very small group of individuals at the pinnacle of power.  
This should be decided by the peoples representatives the MEPS. Lets reform the EU and give the EU parliament the power to legislate first before we consider an EU army.

Colleen Worthington 

Ireland’s constitution says we shall not enter wars without the assent of Dáil Éireann, and we must be bound by that (barring a referendum to change it). I am running for Europe because politicians have repeatedly made decisions without democratic assent, ignored votes from the Dáil, and squandered our money. Can the same politicians be trusted with an EU Army?

Mick Wallace has spoken insightfully on the issues around neutrality and Pesco, and it would be great to work with him on this in Europe.

Grace O’Sullivan

I’m not. I am a former member of Greenpeace. I am someone who believes in peace and funding social rights and human rights and mechanisms that lead towards commonly and not division. I am very much an advocate for open source and open transparency and pushing away from this whole closing fear dynamic.

So I will absolutely resist any funding going into weapons of mass destruction in terms of the increase of militarisation from a warmongering perspective. What I will support is where we’re grouped in terms of our neutrality and where we’re supporting human rights. So where human rights need to be protected in terms of migration and all that. I will support that in terms of funding but I will not support warmongering.

Liam Minehan

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Categorically no – and I’m not on for taking €13 billion out of an agriculture budget for arms.

Deirdre Clune

No.

Seán Kelly 

No, and I have stated clearly time and again that I do not support the creation of an EU Army.

Diarmuid O’Flynn

God no! Were I from Latvia, Lithuania or any of those Eastern Europe nations, or even from such as Germany or France, I can see how many would want this, yes. But we’re Ireland, with the UK now between us and mainland Europe; we’re members of the biggest defence union on the planet, the UN, have built up a really good reputation as honest brokers, truly neutral. We absolutely do not need to involve ourselves in any kind of EU Army. But Fine Gael are slowly and sneakily taking us in that direction.

Mick Wallace

Absolutely not, the advancement of so-called “military cooperation” at an EU level serves mainly to enrich the arms industry who profit from suffering and death the world over. It also works to advance the ideology and culture of militarism and violence as completely normal in our society.

Sheila Nunan

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No. Unlike Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s groups in Europe, Labour’s group has opposed the creation of an EU army, and Labour in Ireland voted against PESCO, while they voted for it. Our manifesto pledges to defend Ireland’s tradition of military neutrality.

About the author:

Kathleen McNamee

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