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To: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Minister Eamon Ryan.

Irish neutrality: peacekeepers not warmongers

We, the undersigned, have no confidence in the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin’s “Consultative Forum on International Security” .

We need a genuine public forum for the people of Ireland to engage in, with representation of the breadth of views that exist available to be discussed, debated, and decided by the people of this land. Outside of a referendum a citizen’s assembly is the appropriate forum for public consultation and debate.

We must heed Article 29 of the Constitution Bunreacht na hÉireann:
“Ireland affirms its adherence to the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes.”

In the interests of the Irish people, we call for no changes to be made with regards to Ireland’s current neutrality criteria of the Triple Lock safeguard [1], and no further commitments to join new EU/NATO defence alliances without holding a Citizen’s Assembly or a referendum on Irish Neutrality.

Why is this important?

We are deeply concerned at the government’s plan to change Ireland’s proud policy of neutrality and how they are going about this. There is public discontent at the prospect of Irish Neutrality being jettisoned and replaced by membership of militarised peace-enforcement alliances with the EU and NATO.

The Fianna Fail/Fine Gael government initially spoke of a Citizens’ Assembly to study the issue of Irish Neutrality [2] but abandoned that proposal in favour of the tightly managed Consultative Forum which allows the government to control the conversation, and takes the debate plus final conclusions away from the public.

The Forum programme is biased in favour of the Minister’s agenda to build consent for the Government’s plans. The whole exercise is undemocratic. [3]

In contrast with the small number of ‘pro- neutrality’ speakers included in the four days of meetings, the forums are loaded with speakers against the established neutrality policy of the country. Some of the issues and perspectives that the public want addressed, such as nonviolent civilian defence, or how to develop a positive neutrality role, are not on the government set agenda.
The forums are not as advertised- ‘a public space for open debate’. They are only being held in three cities, with very little publicity informing people of the limited public tickets available and how to access them. Even the days and times of the forums are exclusive, falling during the working week and starting too early and finishing too late for parents taking children to school to be able to attend. This is all most unsatisfactory.

There are concerns over the fact that instead of a Citizen’s Assembly the government’s forum will conclude with the chairperson [4], who was hand-picked by the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, compiling a report with recommendations for government consideration.


[1] “Triple Lock”

The approval procedures that govern the despatch of contingents of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) on overseas peace support operations is commonly known as the “triple lock”.

The “Triple Lock” was introduced to allay the Irish electorate’s fears that the EU ‘Nice Treaty’ was a threat to our sovereign neutrality after the treaty was rejected by Irish citizens in a referendum in 2001. Subsequently the Nice Treaty was passed in a second referendum in 2002.

The requirements of the “triple lock” were formally set out in Ireland’s national declaration associated with the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
It comprises of 3 requirements:
to be endorsed by the Government, Dáil* and United Nations (UN)**
*There is no requirement for Dáil approval where, the international UN Force is unarmed, where the size of the PDF contingent does and will not exceed 12 members, or if the contingent is intended to replace in whole or in part or reinforce a contingent of the PDF serving outside of the State already serving as part of an International UN Force.
** The requirement for a UN resolution as part of the “triple lock” reflects the central importance of the UN in granting legitimacy to peace support and crisis management missions.

Minister Micheál Martin questions if the Triple Lock remains fit for purpose using the argument that Russia can use its seat on the UN Security Council to veto a UN resolution and thus prevent Ireland being sent on specific military missions. (

The Minister is not being balanced in his arguments. He has never raised any objection to the multiple uses of the veto by the USA on the UN Security Council, which has prevented many justified sanctions taking place. The Minister is also being disingenuous, as Russia has never opposed a proposed Irish peace mission that has come before the Security Council.

The real reason for his wanting to dismantle the Triple Lock is to undermine Irish neutrality. As the Triple Lock mechanism is not written into the constitution it can simply be removed by the government without a referendum.

[2] Micheál Martin (as Taoiseach 08-03-2022)
“I think we could look at a citizens' assembly to discuss these issues in the fullness of time, where detailed prepared submissions and perspectives from a wide range of opinion could be articulated.”

[3] Afri commissioned 2-minute video for Swords to Ploughshares about the Consultative Forum: Not A Con Forum But A Citizens Assembly

[4] Chairperson Dame Louise Richardson DBE (Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) Her 2006 book on ‘Terrorism’ shows some of her work and views.


2023-07-26 17:59:16 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2023-06-28 15:26:36 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2023-06-28 09:26:11 +0100

500 signatures reached

2023-06-25 12:52:00 +0100

100 signatures reached

2023-06-24 17:12:22 +0100

50 signatures reached

2023-06-23 19:25:09 +0100

25 signatures reached

2023-06-23 10:49:24 +0100

10 signatures reached