Irish Political Party Opinion on PESCO

Independents 4 cHange

Clare Daly. (Dáil Eireann 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "Patently, the fact that we are here is not an exercise in democratic scrutiny by the House. It is nothing more than a manoeuvre to avoid effective scrutiny of this measure, not just by this House but also among the broader public. There is no doubt in my mind that this is happening because the political establishment has learned lessons from the last time people were given information - on the Lisbon treaty and so on - therefore, it is better to keep them in the dark."

  • "There is no doubt - Deputies have made this point - that EU member states will commit to increased military spending. PESCO has absolutely been driven by the arms industry."


Deputy Mick Wallace: (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  •    "The notion that the public has been informed about this because it was an aspect of the Lisbon treaty in 2009 is nonsense. I was in a café this morning and I asked six people who came in whether they knew what PESCO is. They were people who would generally be well informed on most matters but none of them knew what I was talking about. They did not know what PESCO was."


  •  "On what, in God's name, are we going to be spending the money when PESCO is fully up and running? Where are we going to use the weapons?"


Solidarity - people Before Profit

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett:  . (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "It should come as no surprise that the two main parties that pretend to be in opposition to one another are now also colluding in further abandoning our military neutrality as part of joining up to the evolving European army and the development and reinforcement of the European military industrial complex.

  • "There is no doubt that this is an abandonment of our neutrality and a move into a common defence. I believe it is unconstitutional. It is counter to Article 29.4.9 of the Constitution and it should be challenged."

Richard Boyd Barrett TD

Deputy Bríd Smyth. (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8​

  • "We want to back this racist, brutal European project on the basis that PESCO is supposed to be about keeping us safe from terrorism. However, it is about entrapping tens of thousands of people in the most miserable conditions."

  • "We cannot take our Defence Forces personnel out of poverty and give them decent wages and conditions but, overnight, we can increase our defence budget to support a European aggression project and NATO."




  • " Who gives Mr. Juncker or anybody in a similar position the right to stand up and say this is European policy? He is a paid official of the European Commission."

  •  "We should not have to come to the Oireachtas and defend our neutrality among ourselves. It is time we put a stop to this. If the people were to vote in favour of joining a European common defence and security arrangement, it would not be my choice, but if it was decided by way of a democratic vote, so be it.

Sean Barrett TD

Tánaiste Simon Coveney (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "This Government attaches great importance to our military neutrality. Over the past decades, successive Governments have restated their commitment to the policy and it remains as strong as ever under the current Government. That commitment was most recently set out in the White Paper on Defence which I published as Minister for Defence in August 2015. This reaffirmed that our policy of military neutrality remains a core element of Irish foreign policy"

  • "A decision to participate in PESCO is entirely voluntary. Any decision to step out of PESCO would equally be entirely voluntary. However, a decision to leave would likely result in a Member State having less influence on the direction of the EU common foreign and security policy as inevitably that member state would be seen as less committed to the CSDP."

Simon Coveney TD

labour party

Green PArty

Deputy Eamon Ryan  (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "The Green Party is opposed to Ireland's entry into PESCO. It runs contrary to Ireland's tradition as a neutral non-aligned country and it will not serve our people or armed forces well in the great work that the latter have done representing us in peace missions overseas".

  • "The Government regularly says that PESCO is about peacekeeping and increasing our ability to engage in such missions, but the rationale for PESCO as set out in the documents is the opposite. The notification documents read: "The project portfolio shall reflect an appropriate balance between projects which are more in the area of capability development and those who are more in the area of operations and missions"."

Eamon Ryan TD

Deputy Brendan Ryan  (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "The impact of joining PESCO could fundamentally alter Ireland's sovereign defence policy and history of neutrality for decades to come. It is too important a matter to rush through a vote as the Government is attempting to do in this manner this week against a false deadline."

  • "We have noticed that the Taoiseach always carefully parses his words on this matter, focusing on security and speaking very little about defence. In June he made the following statement in the Dáil"

  • "I will offer Ireland's continuing solidarity and our strong commitment to working closely with our partners in combating this growing threat. The meeting will send out a strong message that Europe stands united and firm against terrorism, hatred and violent extremism."

Brendan Ryan TD


Deputy Seamus Healy (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "It is very clear that there is an attempt to bulldoze this through the Oireachtas and bounce us into PESCO, which is effectively a militarised Europe"

  • "It is quite clear from all the documentation that, far from what Deputy Chambers said, PESCO is a binding enhanced defence pact. It is not voluntary or temporary. It is a permanent arrangement and a huge step towards a militarised European Union and European army. We know where that has brought us. There has been chaos in Libya following the interventions of various governments. There are three different governments and vast areas of the country have no government at all. There are various detention centres, some of which are under the control of one or other of the three different governments, while others are under the control of individual militias. The conditions are horrendous and people are being abused, sold as slaves etc."

Seamus Healy TD

Deputy  Mattie Mcgrath  (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "We do not know the parameters of this PESCO process. I do not like it anyway."

  • "We went back and fooled the people. It was a question of kid me twice and catch the people a second time. That is what happened. We had a second referendum on the Lisbon treaty, which was the genesis of this process of undermining our neutrality. It took control from our people and sovereign Parliament. It is a while ago and I suppose we should have seen alarm bells ringing then."

  • "This matter is unpalatable. There are no guidelines and the costs, which have been mentioned, are put at up to €1.5 billion per year. The money could be spent well in upgrading our barracks and equipment, as well as soldiers' pay. When we have a flood, snow or any kind of emergency, they are the first line of defence."

Mattie McGrath TD

Maureen O'Sullivan . (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "PESCO is about a military solution, which is very much at odds with our traditional role and our involvement on the international stage to date. Why are we jeopardising this? We all value the role and the work of our reputable peacekeeping forces. It seems to be suggested that those of us who are critical of PESCO and oppose it are being somehow dismissive or disrespectful of our troops. That is absolutely not the case. There is a major difference between our peacekeeping forces and similar forces of those countries with military roles in previous years. We have never had a military role which is one of the reasons our forces are held in such high regard."

Maureen O'Sullivan TD 

SINN féin

Deputy Aengus ó' Snodaigh (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • "I believe the motion before the House is in direct violation of Article 29.4.9o of the Constitution. That provision holds that a Government cannot adopt any EU decision that would create a European common defence mechanism."

  • "We are moving in the direction of a European common defence. Each step that has been taken in recent years has moved towards that end. One need only listen to the comments of EU Commission President, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker. He made these remarks on 17 September, so I am not going back into history. He said that he foresees a fully-fledged defence union by 2025."

  • "I have no wish for the Defence Forces or our foreign policy to be in any way subservient to the EU or NATO, but that is what we are doing. "

  • "The EU army may not necessarily be called the "EU Army" any more than the Irish Army is called the Army, because it is called the Defence Forces. Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker has said that if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then what else could it be? That is what it is. It is an EU army with a military structure and a headquarter"

Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Deputy Sean Crowe (Dáil Eirean 07/12/18) Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 962 No. 8

  • This is not about anti-terrorist measures and keeping people safe, as the Government spin would have it. There is already co-operation in the justice and policing area for that end. This is about creating an EU army to compliment NATO and an EU defence union to enrich weapon makers and dealers.

  • "If the motion is passed, the fight against PESCO will not end. Ireland's involvement in PESCO would violate Article 29.4.9° of Bunreacht na hÉireann which states the Government cannot adopt any European Union decision that would create an EU common defence, as outlined in Article 42 of the Lisbon treaty. A constitutional challenge is guaranteed and the courts will rule on this matter."

  • "they have announced that €1.5 billion will be spent each year on a regressive military project to ultimately facilitate a standing EU army. PESCO's own benchmark is to increase defence investment expenditure by 20%"

Sean Crowe TD

PESCO Dáil VOTe 2017

see if your local TD voted for PESCO in decemBer 2017.

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Irish Public Opinion on Defence/Neutrality

Neutrality in Ireland Poll 2016

The two important questions asked in this poll are; ‘Who Wants The Constitution Changed To Enshrine Ireland's Neutrality’ and ‘Who Does NOT Want The Constitution Changed To Enshrine Ireland's Neutrality’. The results were that 57% wanted the constitution changed to enforce Ireland's neutrality, 39% were against the idea and 4% did not know. The results that the RED C published offer some interesting facts. There was a higher amount of women who voted to affirm Ireland's neutrality by changing the constitution than men.


Neutrality in Ireland Poll 2013

The RED C Research along with PANA  did a survey in 2013 on Neutrality in Ireland. The Question ‘Ireland should have a policy of Neutrality’ was asked and 57% strongly agreed, and only 7% Strongly Disagreed. 21% somewhat agreed whereas 8% somewhat disagreed and only 8% said neither agree or disagree. These are significant figures that offer an insight into what the Irish mindset is.

ACAdemic Papers 


'Irish Political Parties’ Attitudes towards Neutrality and the Evolution of the EU’s Foreign, Security and Defence Policies

"The 2001/2002 Irish Social and Political Attitudes Survey (ISPAS) survey showed that the strongest public support for neutrality is for a concept embodying the following foreign policy goals (Devine, 2008: 471): ● non-involvement in war ● independence ● impartiality ● peace-promotion● self-defence only ● non-aggression ● not supporting big powers ● making our own decisions  ● UN peace-keeping only" (Devine, 2009)


Irish State Documents

Membership of the European Communities 1970 

The accession of Ireland to the European Communities 1972

Challenges  and Opportunities abroad: White Paper on Foreign Policy 

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Department of foreign Affairs

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Prótacal (Uimh.10)

Maidir leis an mBuanchomhar Struchtúrtha 

Doiciméid PESCO trí Ghaeilge