The third answer to my previous e-mail. As before, my original e-mail in bold, my current commentary in italics. (Note: All e-mails are reproduced faithfully. All grammar and spelling errors are theirs. I received this e-mail around midnight last night, so I think it can be forgiven.)
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?
I believe the Defence Forces do a relatively job, often under very challenging circumstances. They still have a vital role to play both here at home and abroad on UN mandated missions. I would acknowledge and agree that at present the Defence Forces are operating under particularly difficult financial constraints-another consequence of the gross mismanagement of our finances.
I was looking for ideas and solutions, not just for the Councillor to agree with me. I don’t especially like that last line, which screams of question dodging in favor of attacking the government. And what kind of vital role does Cllr Quinlivan see the Defence Forces playing at home?
What is your opinion of Ireland’s current neutrality laws and the “triple-lock” system?
Sinn Fein is fully supportive of our neutrality and the triple lock mechanism. Sinn Féin is committed to the maintenance of positive neutrality and an independent foreign policy both in the context of a 26 county state and in a future united Ireland.
I have no idea why the Councillor decided to bring up a United Ireland when answering this question in particular. I wonder if that is just a Sinn Fein directive, to get the words “United Ireland” into every document or e-mail.
And of course, Sinn Fein’s proposed “independent foreign policy” means continuing to use the triple-lock, which lets foreign governments decide if we can or cannot go on peacekeeping missions. Lovely.
We are for positive neutrality in action.
Opposition to membership of NATOs so called Partnership for Peace;
Strengthen our unique position on the international stage as a neutral state in Europe;
Promote European and International security through a policy of disarmament and demilitarisation.
It’s all fine if a bit vague, though again I wonder about this phrase, “positive neutrality” also being used by Labour. How can neutrality be positive or negative?
Do you have any specific foreign diplomatic initiatives or schemes in mind for the coming Dail term?
Sinn Fein would be keen to develop and assist in the growth of an effective peace process for the Basque people which could assist them in their struggle for self determination
We would also use our diplomatic contacts and positive relationships with the US to encourage an end to the illegal US blockade of Cuba
It’s typical of a Sinn Fein representitive to go for this kind of answer in response to that kind of question. I’m not sure what right Ireland, of all nations, has to interfere in the politics of Spain or Cuba but I understand this is a cornerstone of Sinn Fein, supporting movements similar to that of the Nationalist community in Northern Ireland.
Cllr. Maurice Quinlivan
Limerick City Council
Anyway, that was his answer and I thank him for it. Eight e-mails remain unanswered.