With the war in Ukraine turning into even more of a meat grinder, Ryan Kiersey takes a look at the machinations of our own government to force the Irish people into the conflict through a citizen’s assembly-style charade.
Ireland’s Consultative Forum on International Security Policy:
Irish Neutrality has come under fire once more, as the state’s consultation group for Irish neutrality has been packed by Tánaiste Micheál Martin’s preferred cadre of pro-NATO atlanticists.
Martin, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, has convened the group with the intention to review Ireland’s foreign and international security policies. Ostensibly organised with the purpose of reviewing public opinion, the government’s use of citizen’s assemblies have amounted to a rigged jury, whose members are appointed based on their favorability towards government policy.
The group’s purview will range from international humanitarianism and related human rights issues, military disarmament, conflict prevention, and crisis management. However, this move amounts to nothing but poor camouflage for the government’s real intention – the abandoning of Irish neutrality.
The crisis in Ukraine has induced panic among Western elites, and Ireland is no exception. In times of crisis such as these, it can be found that the most ludicrous or malicious decisions are made by those desperate to retain their existing power, both domestically and abroad.
The Government’s Consultative Forum on International Security Policy is the vehicle by which they intend to alter Ireland’s international policy for the worse.
Neutrality Up For Dissection
Following the Second World War, Ireland was excluded from the United Nations, among other institutions, as a consequence of its war-time neutrality, a policy which was met with much ire by the Great Powers of the era. Today, the Irish government has forsaken the principles of national sovereignty and conflict avoidance, and chosen to delve head-first into a military alliance which is neither in its interests to join, nor does the state have the necessary qualifications and military infrastructure to behave as a functioning member-state.
Day one of the committee’s discussion will be held in University College Cork, with the second taking place in the University of Galway, and finally, in a display of historic irony, the third and fourth days of the Forum’s discussions will be held in Dublin Castle.
The committee, although it may be “consultative” in nature, is essentially tasked with formulating, in secret, Ireland’s foreign policy for the coming era. On the agenda is Ireland’s position in the UN and EU, but most dangerously, is the consideration of Ireland’s relationship with NATO, and its cooperation with its Partnership for Peace programme – a bilateral relationship between the state and NATO that is, in effect, an unofficial form of membership.
A Rigged Committee
Though the forum claims to be inclusive of different views from various civilian and military experts, its most senior or significant participants all fall into the category of supporters of American atlanticism. Listing all the participants involved with the government’s forum shows the extent to which Atlanticists are over-represented in what is likely to be a pivotal discussion in Ireland’s international policy.
The Forum Chair, Louise Richardson, is currently the President of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, and was awarded the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2022. Entrenched in Anglo-American security institutions and networking circles, Richardson is an Atlanticist at heart, and the government’s decision to appoint her infers their true intentions with this Forum on Irish neutrality.
Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin will be present at the Forum, and is largely responsible for spear-heading Ireland’s foreign policy drift towards NATO. Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, will be attending the event, as well, supporting his government’s attempts to revise Irish foreign policy amidst the current international circumstances.
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan will also be attending the event. His party’s stance on neutrality has changed over the course of the last year as the Green Party has willingly adopted Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s international policies.
University Professors, NGO Representatives, and Journalists:
Brigid Laffan, the wife of deceased Irish historian Michael Laffan, and Professor at the European University Institute has derided Irish neutrality as a “sacred cow” that ought to be sacrificed in order to “survive Brexit.”
Neil Melvin is the Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute and has previously held positions at Chatham House. Unlikely to respect Irish neutrality coming from British international security circles, Melvin will be representing British interests at the Irish neutrality forum.
Renata Dwan is a Senior Consulting Fellow at the British Foreign Affairs think-tank Chatham House, and will without doubt be representing Anglo-American policy interests.
The view of Dr Rory Finegan, Assistant Professor in the Military History and Strategic Studies at Maynooth University is difficult to determine. He likely has some nostalgia for Irish neutrality as a former officer in the Irish Defence Forces, but through his international career will likely be sympathetic towards NATO in some regard. For the sake of prudence, his views will be regarded as unknown.
Conor Gallagher, a journalist with the Irish Times recently published a book titled “Is Ireland Neutral: The Many Myths of Irish Neutrality”, a work of extraordinary historical retconning, Gallagher will be in the Pro-NATO camp.
Michael Kennedy, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and the Executive Editor of the series Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, is thoroughly educated in the history of Irish foreign policy, but it remains unknown whether Kennedy supports the government’s move to dismiss Ireland’s historic neutrality.
The views of David Murphy, a Lecturer at Maynooth University are unknown.
Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish History at the University of Sheffield has not publicly voiced her opinions on the matter of Irish neutrality, which will be considered to be unknown.
Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist at the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs, will be undoubtedly supporting the anti-neutrality camp given his engagement with Pro-NATO policies on Newstalk interviews and various articles attached to his name
Professor John O’Halloran, President of University College Cork, has not voiced his views publicly, which will be considered unknown.
Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair, Head of International Advocacy at Concern Worldwide, owing to her charity’s international advocacy on behalf of humanitarian issues, is likely to support Anglo-American policy interests at the Forum.
Suzanne Lynch, Chief Brussels Correspondent for Politico Europe, as a journalist is likely to hold support for Anglo-American interests, given her prior experiences in London and Washtington, her position on Irish neutrality is likely not a positive one. .
Patricia Lewis, Research Director of International Security at Chatham House, will not be representing Irish interests at the Forum, and is another likely supporter of British policy interests regarding Irish security.
Andrew Cottey, the Jean Monnet Chair at UCC, a scholar of international relations, with specific interest in the defence policies of NATO countries, will be a likely supporter of anti-neutrality discussion.
Kate Fearon, Deputy Director (Policy Support) of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, has previously held a variety of positions which may infer her support for NATO.
Gary Murphy, Professor, School of Law and Government, DCU, has not made his views public regarding Irish neutrality, and they will be considered unknown.
Brendan Flynn, a lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Galway, has published several articles on international relations which infer his support for a revised Irish neutrality and support for NATO.
Robert McCabe, the Director for the Maritime Security Programme at the Institute for Peace and Security, Coventry University, owing to his involvement with British-based maritime security groups, is likely to be critical of Irish neutrality.
Christian Bueger, Professor of International Relations, University of Copenhagen, with experience in maritime security organisations, is unlikely to have strong feelings for Irish neutrality. His position will be considered unknown.
Dr Sergey Utkin, from the University of Southern Denmark has specialised in EU-Russia relations, and NATO-Russia relations. He is expected to be a supporter of NATO policies at the convention.
Dan Smith from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, is likely to be Pro-NATO considering Sweden’s aspirations for membership, and his previous experience with British foreign affairs organisations.
Dr Adam Eberhardt, Director for the Centre for Strategic Studies, Warsaw, has been involved with several Eastern European foreign affairs organisations, and has expertise in analysing Russian foreign policy. He is expected to be a voice for Pro-NATO policies at the committee.
Sinead O’Carroll is an Editor for The Journal, and considering the news agency’s publication of articles deriding Irish neutrality, she will also be a likely supporter of revising Irish neutrality.
Jane Suiter, a Professor in DCU’s School of Communications, is a member of the OECD’s FutureDemocracy network. She will likely be a supporter of revising Irish defence policy.
Dr Victorija Rusinaité, Director of Research and Analysis at the Hybrid Centre of Excellence, Helsinki. She will likely be representing Pro-NATO interests at the convention.
Ray Murphy, Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, University of Galway, has ample experience in several international organisations, and will be expected to support a reconsideration of Irish foreign policy.
Edward Burke is an Assistant Professor specialised in the History of Warfare, at University College Dublin, he will likely support Pro-NATO interests at the convention given his prior engagement with British foreign policy groups, such as Chatham House.
Siobhan Mullally is a Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Galway. She has previously worked at the UN, EU, and with various human rights organisations related to asylum seekers. She will be expected to support NATO interests at the summit.
Máire Braniff is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Ulster University. Her views on Irish neutrality are unknown.
Roger Mac Ginty is a Professor in Defence, Development and Diplomacy at Durham University. He will likely be supporting NATO policies given his history of liberal international relations publications.
Lokesh Joshi is the Stokes Professor of GlycoSciences at National University of Ireland Galway. His views on neutrality are unknown.
The views of Carlo Webster from the Tyndall Institute are unknown.
The views of Stephen O’Driscoll from the SFI Challenge Research Team, are unknown
Martin Butcher is a Policy Advisor on Arms and Conflict with Oxfam International. He has previously been involved with Anglo-American security groups, and will be expected to represent NATO interests at the event.
Kenneth McDonagh, an Associate Professor of International relations at DCU has had significant experience in European international relations circles, and feeling the continental winds blowing towards support for NATO militarism, is likely partial towards a reconsideration of Irish neutrality.
Rory Montgomery, Honorary Professor, Mitchell Institute for International Peace, Justice and Security, Queen’s University Belfast. His views on Irish neutrality are unknown.
Naomi O’Leary, Europe Correspondent for The Irish Times, will likely be supporting greater cooperation with NATO.
Shona Murray, Europe Correspondent for Euronews is also expected to support NATO policy interests.
John O’Brennan, Professor and Director for the Maynooth Centre for European and Eurasian Studies, is likely a keen NATO supporter given his prior experience as an Open Society lecturer in Politics at the Varna Economics University in Bulgaria.
Defence Officials, Corporate Representatives, and Civil Servants:
Richard Browne, Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, appointed by the coalition government to the position last year, is unlikely to hold a principled stance on neutrality, and will support the government’s intentions on drifting closer to NATO.
Robert McCardle, Director of Trend Micro, a Japanese multi-national cybersecurity company, having studied in America and being likely involved in cybersecurity networking circles in Europe and the USA, is likely a supporter of revising Irish neutrality.
Chris Johnson, the Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast, has been involved with several British international security and military organisations, as well as on the European level. He is expected to support Pro-NATO policies, as per his membership of the UK National Cyber Advisory Board.
Richard Parker, Vice President and Head of Global Cyber Security, Dell Technologies. His views are unknown, but he will be expected to support the government’s defence initiatives for the sake of his company’s interests.
Brigadier General Seán White, Director of Cyber Defence at the European Union Military Staff will be likely to advocate in support of European NATO interests.
Eamonn Murtagh, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Defence will be expected to support the government’s Pro-NATO pivot owing to his position in the Department of Defence.
Brigadier General Rossa Mulcahy, Assistant Chief of Staff, Defence Forces, with experience with the UN and NATO, will likely support government aspirations for closer cooperation with NATO military.
Aileen Nolan, Director Emergency, Operations and Infrastructure Oversight, Department of Defence, like her colleagues, is expected to support the government’s intentions.
Conor Kirwan, Capability Directorate, European Defence Agency, will be expected to support NATO policies.
Catiríona Heinl, Executive Director, for the Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy, a security think-tank active in Ireland with direct connections to British intelligence agencies. She will without doubt be supportive of British interests and NATO policy in Ireland.
Laura Brien, incoming CEO, Maritime Area Regulatory Authority. She will likely support the government’s initiative.
Sonja Hyland, Deputy Secretary General and Political Director, Department of Foreign Affairs. She will likely be supportive of Pro-NATO policies.
Shane Ryan, First Secretary Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, will likely be supportive of Anglo-American international interests at the summit.
The views of Kieran Brennan, Major General (Rtd), are likely supportive of NATO.
Declan Power, Defence Analyst and former Defence Forces member, his views are unknown.
Shamala Kandiah Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Security Council Report, is likely supportive of NATO policies.
The views of Brigadier General David Dignam (Retd), are unknown.
Major General (Retd) Michael Beary, Head of Mission for the United Nations Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement, is likely supportive of NATO.
Fiona Nic Dhonnacha, Ireland’s Ambassador to Colombia, is likely aligned with Anglo-American security interests and supportive of revising neutrality.
Bernie Maguire, Assistant Secretary General and Defence Policy Director, Department of Defence, is likely Pro-NATO
Marie Gleeson, Simply Blue Group (Former Lieutenant Commander, Irish Naval Service), is also likely supportive of revising Irish foreign policy.
Stijn Mols, Head of Division, Security and Defence Policy, EEAS, is likely supportive of NATO owing to his background in European diplomatic circles.
Maura O’Sullivan, Chief of Staff, EU Advisory Mission Ukraine, is likely supportive of NATO.
Martin Harrington, Senior Strategic Advisor, EU Advisory Mission Iraq, is likely supportive of NATO.
Cáit Moran, Ireland’s Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union, is likely supportive of NATO.
James Mackey, Director of Security Policy and Partnerships, NATO, is a NATO defence official.
Michele Grifin, Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, is likely Pro-NATO.
Art O’Leary, CEO, Electoral Commission of Ireland, is likely Pro-NATO given his organisation’s relationship with the government.
Ross Frenet, CEO of Moonshot, an Anglo-American online anti-extremism organisation, is likely supportive of NATO.
Commander Roberta O’Brien, Irish Naval Service (currently on secondment to NATO Defence Capacity Building Unit, will be attending the event and is likely supportive of NATO.
Norwegian guests at the summit include Ine Eriksen Søreide, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence at the Storting (Norwegian Parliament), and Dag Nylander, Director of the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution. As Norwegian officials, they are likely supportive of Sweden’s attempt and Finland’s successful entrance to NATO, and cannot be expected to view Ireland’s neutrality in a favourable light.
From Switzerland Joachim Adler, Head of Defence Policy and Operations at the Federal Department for Defence, and Laurent Goetschel, Professor of Political Science at the University of Basel and Director of Swissspeace will be providing examples from the Swiss defence system in an advisory capacity to the neutrality committee, however, their views on abandoning Irish neutrality will be considered unknown.
Finnish guests at the summit include Matti Pesu, Researcher in the Finnish Foreign Policy, Northern European Security, and NATO research programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Hanna Ojanen, Jean Monnet Professor at the University of Tampere, and Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland. As a nation that recently joined NATO, the Finnish delegation to the Forum will be expected to wax lyrical about their new military master’s cause.
Swedish guests Magnus Christiansson, Senior Lecturer at the Swedish Defence University and Anna Sundström, Secretary General, Olof Palme International Center will be attending the event in their capacity as a neutral country currently engaged in the process of NATO accession.
Absence of Neutrality Advocacy
Roger Cole, founder and chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), will be the only supporter of Irish neutrality at the Forum.
Tallying the allegiances of the panel, we find the total number of participants’ views on Irish neutrality and NATO adds up to 67 Pro-NATO attendees, 17 unknown, and only 1 person representing a Pro-Neutrality position, with at least 6 attendees having public connections to British spy organisations, and many more with open connections to NATO itself.
The Irish government, with its refusal to defend itself, whether that be its border security, military, or international standing, has decided to give the Brits a turn at running the show once more, as they delegate the responsibility of deciding Ireland’s future to malicious Atlanticists, whose care for Ireland is precisely zero. Dame Louise Richardson is chairing the event, and is clearly more aligned to British-American security interests rather than those of Ireland, and with the Anglo-American lackeys which the government has stacked the committee with, it will come as no surprise when she recommends a policy change to Irish neutrality as the group’s final findings.