NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League expresses its grave concern over a military training agreement to be signed between United Kingdom and Irish Ministers later this month.
The Celtic League are well aware of the high reputation and integrity that Irish Defence Forces have gained over the years internationally for the exemplary, impartial and professional manner in which they have supported United Nations peacekeeping operations globally.
During the course of those operations many Irish troops paid the ultimate price and gave their life in UN peacekeeping operations from the Congo to Lebanon.
At several points over the course of the past forty years the Celtic League has placed on record its support for the independent peacekeeping role that Irish Defence Forces have undertaken.
When Irish troops were killed in Lebanon in the 1980s by members of the Israeli proxy South Lebanon Army the League protested to the Israeli government and also urged (via the Secretary Generals Office) the United Nations to be more proactive in ensuring the safety of peacekeepers.
Ironically over the years when we have raised concerns, particularly over attacks on UNIFIL (in Lebanon) in which the Irish contingent played such a pivotal role we have not heard similar condemnation from the United Kingdom the State with which the Irish government wishes to ‘associate’ its Defence Forces.
The Celtic League recalling the sacrifice of many Irish peacekeepers urge the Irish government even at this eleventh hour to revisit its decision to enter into this pact.
Unlike their Irish counterparts the British Army is not highly regarded internationally and has been the subject of criticism for the manner in which it has behaved in countries such as Iraq – the subject of continuing inquiry – because of its record for brutality and violence towards civilians.
Also and distinct from the general concerns of the League, from an Inter-Celtic perspective, is the unease with which our National Irish branch view these developments. Like many in Ireland they are aware that in living memory there has been a bitter legacy left in Ireland because of British troops operating in the six counties of the North and the manner in which they discharged their role there..
An Conradh Ceilteach (The Irish branch of the Celtic League) will be conveying its concerns to An Taoiseach and Minister Coveney in the next few days and they are aware that other NGOs in Ireland share the unease that they have over this unhealthy alliance.
Finally the Celtic League understand that as part of the ‘agreement’ the United Kingdom will make available to Ireland military equipment ‘surplus to requirements’.
The Irish government must be aware of the old adage ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’ and more pertinently that all military aid assistance agreements in modern times have always been associated with an unwritten though explicit desire by the donor State to expand its sphere of military influence with the recipient.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Tel: 01624 877918
Mob: 07624 491609
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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