News & Events August 2018

No to PESCO/No to War Protest August 15th 1-2pm

EU Commission Offices, Europe House, 12-14 Mount Street Lower, Dublin

To protest the development of PESCO, the early stage of an EU Army.

Join the event here:

Frank Keoghan - The Peoples movement Ireland on PESCO

"The Central Statistics Office (CSO) provides a succinct explanation of the difference between GDP and GNP: GDP measures the total output of the economy in a period i.e. the value of work done by employees, companies and self-employed persons. ... The total income remaining withIrish residents is theGNP and it differs from GDP by the net amount of incomes sent to or received from abroad. The total income remaining with Irish residents is the GNP and it differs from GDP by the net amount of incomes sent to or received from abroad. In Irelands case, for many years past, the amount belonging to persons abroad has exceeded the amount received from abroad, due mainly to the profits of foreign-owned companies, and our GNP is, therefore, less than our GDP.

Last year, a calculated growth rate of 27% in GDP led to the charge of “leprechaun economics.” What happens is that multinationals decide to relocate to Ireland to benefit from our notoriously attractive corporate tax regime. Through an accounting and statistical sleight of hand, this is recorded as an investment in Ireland, but often also as an import of intellectual property from the multinational’s previous home country.

Thus, little or no cash may change hands. Even if some jobs are created here, these pale into

insignificance compared to the amount of money in play. This is not productive investment

as we conventionally understand it but explains the difference between GDP and GNP.

In response to international derision, the CSO has developed a new indicator known as

modified gross national income (GNI). This shows that in 2016, GNI was 69% of GDP; GDP was closer to 60%.

So, what has this got to do with PESCO?

Our commitment under PESCO is to increase military spending to 2% of GDP. World Bank

figures for 2017 show that Ireland spent 0.3% of GDP in military - the lowest percentage of

any of the EU's 28 member states. If we are to reach the 2% target, we will have to

increase spending by over a whopping 500% to subsidise an EU arms industry so that

profits can be made by companies who manufacture the means of death and


Military spending stood at just over €1bn for 2017 and our PESCO commitment would

increase this to over €5bn (€5,000bn per annum). But this is calculated based on GDP. If we

take the more realistic CSO GNI figures, we can see that it is almost 30% greater as a

proportion and if we use GNP, it is over 30%. This translates as an increase in military

spending to just under 3% of GNI – though the monetary figure remains the same.

The catch is that on the difference between GDP and GNI, minimal tax is paid by the global

corporations such as Apple, Google etc who are headquartered – some economists point to

an effective 2% level. But even if they paid 12.5%, a disproportionate amount of the tax –

that paid within the ambit of GNI – is paid by PAYE workers.

So, for the privilege of being home to a selection of barely – taxed global corporations, we

now have an extra burden courtesy of the FG/FF coalition – propped up by a few

‘independents’. The real increase in military spending is 2.7% of GNI; a much smaller pot of

money. It’s outrageous at a time when there are so many pressing social needs. There is an urgent need to begin a campaign for withdrawal from PESCO before we become too deeply

embroiled. All it requires under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty is for the government to

write to the EU Council indicating its intention to withdraw. This should be the simple demand of all those opposed to PESCO and militarism!

Click here for The Peoples movement website

Andy Storey - Dublin Inquirer on PESCO

"My own position on this is that the world (including Ireland) needs to reduce military spending, and that Ireland is squandering its potentially fruitful role as a neutral country by buying into EU military structures and by facilitating the US military’s use of Shannon airport."

Click here to read the full piece on the Dublin Inquirer!

Michael Taft on PESCO - Turning Ploughshares Into Swords

"Though the Government was quick to point out that signing up to PESCO doesn’t mean that Ireland has to increase it’s spending to 2 percent, we shouldn’t be surprised if pressure is put on individual national defence budgets. Joining PESCO with the commitment to the triple-lock (Government and Dáil approval, and UN authorisation before Irish involvement in overseas missions) may seem to provide some cover, but we should be prepared for militarisation-drift. Already, Fine Gael MEPs have called for Ireland to fully join the EU Defence Union."

Click here for Michael Taft's article on his blog 'Notes on the Front'

Edward Horgan - Security, Defence and Neutrality - Irish Times Letter

"Sir, – The MacGill Summer School began with a row over gender balance and compounded this by an unbalanced team of speakers on Ireland’s defence and neutrality (“Irish MEP says calm debate needed on security and defence”, July 24th). The vast majority of Irish people support Irish neutrality, so it is difficult to justify such a one-sided debate including Mairead McGuinness, Ben Tonra, and Joe Mulholland, while advocates of neutrality were excluded.

Ms McGuinness said that “Irish spending on defence was the lowest in the EU”. Irish defence spending should be the lowest in the EU, given that our geography as an offshore island and our neutrality are our best defences. She went on to say that “Ireland must engage in a national debate . . . which does not descend into accusations of sending ‘our sons and daughters to war’ ”. Advocates of abandoning neutrality want to avoid mentioning such unmentionables, on the centenary of the ending of the first World War when almost 50,000 of Ireland’s sons were needlessly killed. The defence of the Irish people should include priorities such as health services and homelessness.

Ben Tonra raised the spectre of global threats to Ireland “such as terrorism, a resurgent Russia and the rise of authoritarian regimes”. Terrorism threats are best dealt with by good policing and restoring genuine neutrality. A “resurgent Russia” is mainly an invention to justify the militarisation of Europe, and authoritarian regimes are a serious issue within the European Union and Nato, rather than being a threat to Ireland.

The statement by French ambassador to Ireland Stéphane Crouzat that “his country does not see Ireland as neutral” represents unacceptable interference in important Irish internal affairs. – Yours, etc,


Click here to see the letter on the Irish Times!