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[28/02/2006] Ireland joining EU Battlegroups

***  JOINING EU BATTLE GROUPS

Ireland is to join in EU "battle groups" and send Irish soldiers off
possibly to die on EU military  missions.

But Irish neutrality will not be affected, squirms Defence Minister Willie
O'Dea - he who recently had his photo taken squinting down a gun barrel on
the front page of the Sunday Independent. Irish "neutrality" is an ever
more tattered remnant these days, after years of Dublin politicians cosying
up to the EU and NATO.

"Peace groups" would be a better name than "battle groups", says the
ineffable O'Dea, a Limerick solicitor who clearly prefers being boss of the
Irish Army and being photoed playing with war-toys to conveyancing and
shuffling legal affidavits.

What business has the EU sending troops to foreign parts, supposedly to
make peace between people who are at war, but in reality to push the
interests of the former colonial powers under an EU flag rather than less
acceptable French, British, Belgian or Italian flags?  "Peace-KEEPING" is
one thing, for it implies there is already a peace to be kept.
"Peace-MAKING", on the other hand, really  means war-making, for it implies
clobbering existing belligerents on the head to get them to stop fighting.
The proposed EU military missions will be mainly in Africa. The former
African colonial powers who decide EU foreign policy whenever they can
agree among themselves, regard Africa as their backyard, just as the USA
regards Latin America as its.

EU battle groups and the EU Rapid Reaction Force of 60,000 men which the
Dublin Government has also committed itself to joining, are central to the
project of turning the EU into an imperial superpower,in which Ireland goes
along
with a collective neo-colonial foreign policy and its back-up military
adventures.  Top officers of the Irish Army  are delighted as they fly off
to take part in the EU Military Planning Staff in Brussels. There they are
in with the big boys as they plan the military side of the EU
Empire-in-the-making. Meanwhile Fianna Fail Ministers assure everyone that
"Irish neutrality" is unaffected and unchanged. What fools they take people
for!  Eamon De Valera assuredly must be turning in his grave.

[24/08/2005] Ireland paving way for EU Battlegroups

IRELAND PAVING THE WAY FOR EU BATTLE GROUPS

by Honor Mahony from EU OBSERVER, 15 August 2005

The Irish Government is taking concrete steps to preparing the way for its
army to take part in the EU's battle groups, according to the country's
defence minister.

In an interview with the daily newspaper, the Irish Examiner, Willie O'Dea
admitted that the biggest concern with the battle groups was how
participation fits with Ireland's policy of neutrality.

However, he said that the government would have proposals by the end of
September.

At the moment, a committee is looking at the constitutional difficulties
thrown up by participation.

New legislation is likely to be needed allowing Ireland to take part in the
battle groups, which will be deployed around the world.

According to Mr O'Dea, there are a number of scenarios, which would be
illegal under Irish law.

He pointed out that it would be illegal for foreign troops participating in
a battle group to go to Ireland "under their own command".

"That's illegal as the law stands at the moment", he said.

The defence minister also referred to Ireland's main issue with taking part
in the battle groups - the fact that Ireland's participation on any mission
undertaken by the battle group must go through the triple lock system:
approval by the UN, the government and Irish parliament.

This triple lock system was drawn up in the wake of Ireland's referendum
rejection of the EU's Nice Treaty, mainly due to fears about its neutrality
being compromised.

Asked whether it would be possible to reconcile the conflicting principles,
Mr O'Dea said: "What we are working out is how we can do that. We will have
the mechanics in place by the end of September".

The decision to set up the battle groups was taken late last year and
envisages groups of around 1,500 soldiers being sent to the world's hotspots
within ten days of a unanimous decision by member states
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