The Importance of Ireland’s Role
Ireland is regarded as a fair and impartial arbiter by the nations of the world. Our good standing in the EU, the UN and in America where millions proclaim their Irish heritage affords our politicians ready access to and a fair hearing from those who ultimately control the destiny of so many.
Irish diplomats and politicians speak with the moral authority derived from our history of peaceful co-existence, cooperation and mutual respect for other peoples and nations of the world since the foundation of our state. Owing to our centuries long struggle for independence and recent experience of conflict resolution, others who long for justice and peace are inspired by the Irish peace process.
Ireland has a responsibility to speak for the voiceless.
Peace can not exist where there is injustice. Justice and the rule of international law must form the basis of dispute resolution. Ireland must uphold this principle, even if that means standing alone. To do otherwise rewards those who subvert the rule of law. Powerful political forces continue to ignore this principle while giving massive military, economic and political support to Israel.
Safe in the knowledge that it will not be isolated or sanctioned by the EU, Israel is emboldened and continues its policy of ethnic cleansing, colonisation and expansion with complete impunity in defiance of the will of the international community as expressed through numerous UN Resolutions.
Our public representatives have failed to speak out for the voiceless and defenceless. Palestinians are terrorised and oppressed by a rogue state that has killed thousands of innocent men, women and children and forced millions to endure a lifetime of misery in refugee camps. Civil society can no longer remain silent – Ireland must take a stand as it did before when the Irish government and Irish civil society played an active role in the international struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Irish citizens have unique influence in Europe
Ireland is the only country in the EU where citizens have a constitutional right to vote on the ratification of any new European Treaty. Ratification by all other EU states can be achieved by a simple majority of the elected representatives in their national parliament. Irish citizens can send a message to the European Commission on behalf of all citizens of Europe, that human rights must take precedence over trade.
With closer European cooperation across a range of policy areas, Irish foreign policy has been severely circumscribed. This trend looks set to deepen. In 2008, Irish MEPs and TDs will ask the electorate to endorse the new EU Reform Treaty in a referendum. Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Reform Treaty, one area in which the EU Commission has failed the electorate is by its cavalier disregard of Israel’s record of gross human rights violations.
Israel is in breach of the Euro-Med Agreement which affords it privileged trading terms with the EU, it has failed to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice in respect to the construction of the separation wall and other violations of international law. Nonetheless Israel has gone unpunished while the level of its subsidised trade with the EU has increased.