So, the other day, I received another reply to my e-mail to the Limerick City constituencies…a week after the election. Socialist/ULA candidate Cian Prendiville, the 21 year old. He finished in mid-table, and only now has decided to get back to me.
Getting a reply is nice, but the lateness of it isn’t. Candidates like Willie O’Dea and Quinlivan, far busier then Prendiville must have been, were able to get back to me in time. Anyway, here it is, my original e-mail in bold, my commentary in italics.
Really sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I got your email first on my phone, starred it and then seem to have forgotten about it. I’m only now going through all my starred emails from the last month. I have answered the questions inline below, I know it is too late for the election, but felt that I should still answer them.
Dear Mr Prendiville
Hello. I am a constituent of Limerick City and a recent graduate of an MA course, Military History and Strategic Study. As such, I would be appreciative if you could provide some answers to the following questions.
What is your opinion of the present state of the Irish Defence Forces? It’s reduced budget and size, its promotion freeze, and limited participation in missions abroad? Do you believe, as many do, that the Irish Defence Forces are surplus to the requirements of the modern Irish state?
The key question with the army for me is over who controls it, and in whose interests is it run. I believe there needs to be genuine democratic control over the army.
I have no idea what Mr Prendiville actually means by this and he does not elaborate. I’m hard pressed to think of how much more democratic it could be. It’s Commander In Chief is directly elected, it does not go on missions without cabinet, Dail and UN approval.
Perhaps Prendiville thinks that PDF missions and actions need referendum approval, a staggeringly stupid viewpoint. They’re the army, not the mobs playthings. They need to be a fast action, rapid response service, able to jump into any situation abroad where they are required to keep the peace. This is impossible under a direct democracy system with military control. Moreover, it would involve the higher echelons of the Armed Forces in electioneering, an unsavoury prospect. No other army in the world operates under such a system. Of course, that might not be Prendiville’s meaning, but I can’t see anything else he might mean.
Bottom line. Our Army doesn’t do anything without the authorisation of the President and the legislative chamber. It can’t be more democratic without compromising its effectiveness as a peacekeeping force.
I believe soldiers, like other workers, should have full rights to unionise, beyond just the PDFORA, and also shouldn’t be made to pay for the crisis caused by the rich, through pension levies, promotion bans etc.
Nice way to get the traditional Socialist talking points in. The reason the PDF is not permitted to organise beyond the PDFORA is that they are an emergency service. They aren’t allowed to strike, because they’re too important. That’s the price you pay to wear the uniform, the same as the Gardai and the Fire Service.
I support the statements by the PDFORA in 2009 that they wouldn’t be used as replacement workers if there was a public sector strike, as I believe that this use of the army as a strike breaking force is a disgrace.
Equating the use of the army in those situations with “strike breaking” is a hideous misrepresentation of what they did.
We have seen in Ireland in the past and elsewhere in Europe soldiers used in this manner, and it just goes to show how the government view the army – as a force to be used in the interest of the rich.
Yes. Preventing a pile-up of rubbish in Ireland, putting out fires in England when their Services refused…all “in the interest of the rich”. Thank God this man will never be a TD. He’s never ask the PDF to do anything.
What is your opinion of Ireland’s current neutrality laws and the “triple-lock” system?
I defend the triple lock, but to me this is just a bare minimum. In my view, the last government broke so-called neutrality by not just allowing, but in fact subsidising the landing fees for US troops at Shannon. I would much rather see them investing in a state airline that would ensure Shannon thrives through citizen passengers, rather than supporting a brutal war for profit and oil in Iraq.
Yes. A state airline. Of course, the amount of money that the government is “subsidising” by allowing the US to use Shannon would be nowhere near the necessary amount needed to fund an other State airline. An airline that would have no guarantee of success or survival, operating out of an airport that will be living on borrowed time once the US leaves. Ryanair would be gleeful at such as suggestion at this.
And of course, Prendiville takes the standard, simplistic view of the Middle Eastern conflicts. I’ve written on my objection to the Triple-Lock before and will not rehash those points.
I know this will probably not be popular with many in the army, but in my view we should not have supported the occupation of Chad, and put the lives of our soldiers on the line, for what I see as merely France’s imperialist interest in the resources (particularly nuclear resources) of that country.
“Occupation”. Jesus wept, he actually doesn’t know anything about Chad. If you don’t know, don’t talk about it Cian. The Chadian government invites us in (as little as they have), the Triple-Lock he defended previously approved the mission, but no. “Occupation”. Idiotic.
Oh and yes, we were involved in an EU/UN mandated mission in Chad, so France could boost it’s Nuclear Power. You read this argument from the left fringe frequently, and they never come anywhere near to backing it up with something resembling hard evidence. The troops were deployed under a Fianna Fail government, as part of an EU force, so it must have been for EVIL purposes. This people would rather assume that the EU is jerking the PDF around then accept that Chad was an area that needed a peacekeeping force there.
France is the former coloniser. Of course they will have an interest in the region, a lot of its population speak French and have relatives in France. France is a big player in the EU. It’s like saying Ireland should have no interest in New England, London or Australia.
Do you have any specific foreign diplomatic initiatives or schemes in mind for the coming Dail term?
Well, as suggested above, I would be in favour of ending US military use of Shannon. Another priority for me would be opposing the militatarisation of the EU.
Right, right right. Or rather, left.
That’s it. He answered, eventually, so I thank him, though his answer shows up the gigantic gaping holes in the hard lefts defence/foreign affairs policy. They simply don’t know enough.
Moreover, defending the Triple-Lock, then complaining about a mission that the system approved is hypocritical in the extreme. I support this measure wholeheartedly, except when it does something I don’t like or I don’t like the Party that starts it.
That kind of person should not be anywhere near control of the Armed Forces.