In 1790 in response to a possible War between the British Union and the Spanish empire, Wolfe Tone wrote a pamphlet advocating Irish Neutrality. Tone and the United Irishmen sought to establish an Independent Irish Republic but were crushed by the military power of British Imperialism and their Irish allies.
For generations therefore, Irish people have fought for Irish Independence, Irish Democracy and Irish Neutrality. For generations Irish people have also supported Imperialism.
Those that supported the Imperial tradition accepted a common foreign policy, and a common defence policy, although some wanted Home Rule. Isaac Butt urged thousands of Irish people to fight and die in the Crimean War while John Redmond encouraged tens of thousands to die in the common defence of the British Union in the 1st World War.
Others, such as Connolly who established the Irish Neutrality League in 1914 and Michael Collins who ensured the right to Irish Independence, Democracy and Neutrality by supporting the Treaty that established this State maintained their support for Independence. Indeed, Collins made it very clear that the Treaty was only a stepping-stone to a United Independent Democratic Irish Republic.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance in advocating an Independent Irish foreign policy, Irish Democracy and Irish Neutrality are merely sustaining the values of Tone, Connolly and Collins.
We strongly oppose the Redmondite revivalists that seek to effectively destroy our right to Independence by advocating the future of the European Union as either a collection of vassal states of the American Empire or as a new Federal European state where Ireland would have in effect, Home Rule status.
PANA seeks to build an alliance that sees the future of the European Union as an Association of Independent, Democratic States that co-operate for the purpose of trade and commerce but with no military dimension. PANA believes that this vision of the future of Europe is one, which reflects the views of not only a substantial number of Irish people but millions of French, British, Danish, Spanish and all the other varied nationalities that exist in Europe. People who identify with the anti-imperial and democratic tradition of their respective states. That is why we sought a legally binding Protocol to exclude Ireland from the ERRF. While defeated in the last referendum, we accept that all power derives from the people. If they can change their mind once, they can change it again.
The massive demonstrations that took place in Dublin and other cities throughout Europe and the rest of the world on the 15th of February against the Bush Administration's intention to conquer Iraq to ensure US/Israeli control of the oil and water resources of the region shows that opposition to Imperialism and war is a growing force in the states of Europe. That the governments of Ireland, Britain, Spain, Italy and the applicant states of Eastern Europe support Bush's war for oil and ignore the clearly expressed wishes of their own people is an indication of their Imperial and anti-democratic vision of the EU as a clone of Bush's United States.
The Irish governments refusal to accept the recently proposed Neutrality Amendment to the Constitution and their decision to turn Shannon into a US air force base is clear evidence of its rejection of Irish Independence, democracy and neutrality.
It is PANA's contention that European Security only makes sense in an international and global context. Neither is security a purely military concept. The massive level of poverty that exists throughout the world provides the wellspring of violence. The values of a 'Social Europe' provide the world with a better chance for peace, Justice, human rights and security than Bush's United States. The 'Old Europe' values of social solidarity are preferable to the 'New Europe' values of Blair, Berlusconi and Ahern, values that are based on brute power, which will bring the world to a new Dark Age.
The only inclusive global institution with responsibility for collective security is the United Nations. It is the United Nations, transformed and renewed, rather than a militarized EU that should be the institution through which Ireland and the other states of the European Union should pursue their security concerns.
Denis J. Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Vice-President of PANA, makes the case that the current structure of the Security Council means its domination by a few states, especially the US. Its members should be elected on a regional basis for a 6-year term. In such a context the establishment of a UN Rapid Reaction force as proposed by Erskine Childers would gain widespread support. As it is, the UN is in danger of losing its moral legitimacy by surrendering to the world's only superpower, the US, a path it has already followed by giving legitimacy to horrific sanctions imposed on the people of Iraq, that have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Law and legitimacy can only survive if they are underpinned by morality and the consent of the people. If the governments of the world no longer wish to gain that consent, as is now the case, for example, in Britain, Spain and Ireland, in their proposal to support an Imperial war of conquest of Iraq, then the legitimacy of the United Nations and their own governments will vanish just as happened after the Great War.
Two hundred years ago Robert Emmet, Irish Republican, was executed by the British Union because he believed that Ireland should be an Independent Irish Republic, taking its place among the Nations of the Earth. That dream will never die.
Roger Cole (Chair)
Peace & Neutrality Alliance.