The IAWM condemns the decision by Taoiseach Micheál Martin to attend the EuroAtlantic dinner at the Prado Museum in Madrid yesterday evening. While it is perfectly normal for the Taoiseach to attend an event with other EU leaders the fact that this event included NATO leaders, and was billed as an EU/NATO event, is hugely problematic.
Mr. Martin’s attendance shows callous regard for Ireland’s neutrality and disrespect to the Irish people who have strongly indicated through national polls that they wish Ireland to remain neutral. It follows on from his statement some weeks ago that Ireland would not need a referendum in order to join NATO.
Mr. Martin claims that the event will “bolster international cooperation to work to uphold democratic values and our commitment to that rules-based international order." The leaders of NATO countries have shown scant regard for international law and human rights over the last decades and they are now using Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to expand their military agenda. Mr. Martin should ask the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya and Yemen how they feel about NATO.
The Taoiseach also claimed in an interview yesterday that NATO leaders "did everything they possibly could to prevent the war in Ukraine”. This is blatantly untrue. NATO countries have carried out provocative military actions in Ukraine for years and, since the war started in February, they have relished its escalation and are using the conflict to expand into new territory.
Irish political leaders including the Taoiseach should challenge the dominant narrative of militarisation as the solution to the Russian Ukraine war and instead respect and use Ireland’s position of neutrality to call for a ceasefire, diplomatic negotiations and peace.