YFG Calls for Ireland to Engage in Accession Talks with NATO

This weekend, Young Fine Gael (YFG) delegates at the Garret FitzGerald Young Fine Gael Summer School in Kilkenny, YFG delegates voted for a motion calling on the Irish Government to start accession talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Member of Sligo YFG and International Committee member, Blain Gaffney:

"As a member of the YFG International Committee with a key interest in Irish defence and security policies, I am both happy and proud to have seen that that our youth organisation took the time to carefully debate and then approve this sensitive motion. This motion echoes both official Fine Gael policy from 2003 and also that of the late Garret FitzGerald, who firmly believed in the ideals of collective international security. Now is the time for the Government to place this continually contested status of Irish neutrality firmly into the books on Irish history and join NATO. We know that terrorism and other security related issues which may affect Ireland in the future have changed and developed in the recent past. Our concept of military neutrality does not have any relevance in the fight against terrorism or cyber related security. We believe that international co-operation is the best method of combatting the threat internationally and that Ireland could have the capacity to contribute to its success."

"The motion, which was proposed by the UCD YFG branch, was potentially contentious due to the immense changes which would arise from joining NATO and in particular for Ireland's traditional status of military neutrality and its intricate links with Irish sovereignty. The timing for the debate on this motion was ideal as it was contested just one week after the Department of Defence released the green paper on defence policy report. The outcome of the debate would serve to be an indication to the Government of the mood of our organisation during this important time of public consultation on defence related issues in Ireland," said Blaine Gaffney, YFG International Committee Member.

During the debate both the changing structures of international terrorism and the reality of the developments in security related issues were discussed. Among the winning arugments were the idea that increased international co-operation is a key component in the attempts to combat the threats. Members also felt strongly if Ireland were to join NATO, it would allow for a more secure island with increased capabilities for our national Defence Forces," Blaine Gaffney continued.

"We hope that this motion's success and development into YFG policy will influence the government during the consultation period ahead," he concluded.

ENDS

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