Brian Hayes MEP today (Tuesday) said that the reactions from the far left in Ireland to the Fine Gael MEP policy paper on security and defence are completely far-fetched.
“It is no surprise that Sinn Fein and other far left politicians and parties have launched into a frenzied backlash against the Fine Gael MEP policy paper on security and defence which was launched last week*.
“The far left employed their usual tactics of slogans and megaphone politics, using typical suggestions such as: ‘this will lead to an EU army’ or ‘our children will be sent to fight foreign wars’. This type of populist rhetoric is utterly delusional.
“If Sinn Fein and the far left actually read the policy paper, they would notice that we are not in favour of the creation of an EU army and we are not in favour of doing anything against our sovereign wishes on security and defence.
“This paper has nothing whatsoever to do with sending troops into battlefield or fighting wars. We are talking about the new types of security threats that Ireland and Europe faces, these are cyber security threats, extreme terrorism, human trafficking and international crime.
“The far left need to give us their answer to how we prepare for these threats. They continue to use neutrality as an excuse against doing anything to bolster security for Irish people and cooperating with our EU partners on security and defence. We need to move the debate beyond neutrality and talk about what exactly are the security needs of Ireland.
“It is good that politicians are engaging in debate on security and defence matters but let’s have a mature debate based on fact. If this debate is defined by alarmist rhetoric about an EU army, we will get nowhere.
“One thing we can all agree on is that our Defence Forces deserve the best. Their pay and conditions need to be enhanced, as we have said in our position paper. But we also need to enhance our investment in defence capabilities, in cyber security systems and in equipment.”