Go gceadófar go dtabharfar isteach Bille dá ngairtear Acht chun an Bunreacht a leasú.
That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Constitution.
I thank Ms Diana O'Dwyer and Mr. Des Hennelly in People Before Profit for their work on the Bill as well as the Bills Office. This is a Bill which, if passed, would mean we would have a referendum to enshrine neutrality in the Constitution. That is defined as Ireland being a neutral State that will not join many military alliances. It states that Ireland could only participate in armed conflict in circumstance where it is under attack or invasion and with the vote of a Dáil. It states very clearly that the Government could not join wars or get the country to join wars as part of an EU decision. If it wanted to do that, it would need another referendum.
There is obviously a context to this Bill, which is the significant propaganda war on neutrality being waged by members of the establishment, political parties, very senior members of the Government, various media commentators, academics and so on. I will read some quotes from the last couple of weeks. The Tánaiste said that we "need to think about greater involvement in European defence." The Taoiseach said, "Neutrality is a policy issue that can change at any time." The Minister for Foreign Affairs two days ago said that Ireland will participate in the EU rapid reaction force involving 5,000 troops, raising a question mark over the triple lock.
I will be clear. This attempt to completely undermine neutrality, which the Irish establishment sees as a shackle on its ability to get involved in US-led imperialist adventures, is not new. This is not as a consequence of Putin's horrendous invasion of Ukraine. The Government is simply using that.
Fine Gael in 2003 was very openly calling to get rid of neutrality altogether. What is happening here is a rebranding of NATO - the US-led military alliance - as some sort of peace force, as if it was the natural neutral teacher on the playground stopping the bullies. Tell that to the ordinary people of Afghanistan who had their country invaded and occupied by NATO for years. Who gave NATO or the US the right to consider themselves the world police? Tell that to the people of Iraq, more than 1 million of whom died as part of the US invasion and suffered at the hands of NATO members.
We are asking that this to be put to the people. Let us have a debate about it instead of the Government continuing to simply undermine and erode neutrality.