From Socialist Voice, June 2007

Open letter to TDs

The following letter was sent by the Communist Party of Ireland on 1 June 2007 to members of the Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Féin and a number of independent deputies who were elected or re-elected to Dáil Éireann.

     A chara,
     First of all allow me, on behalf of the Communist Party of Ireland, to congratulate you on your election to the 30th Dáil. Over the next two weeks there will be much discussion and debate. You may well enter serious negotiations about the formation of a new Government; you may even be involved in detailed negotiations in relation to an agreed programme for government. Those discussions may reflect the agenda of your party or the priorities of your own constituency.
     The CPI is writing to all elected members of Dáil Éireann, including members of the Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Féin and a number of independent deputies, asking them to consider the following points.
     We are aware that a significant number of TDs from all the parties mentioned above, and a number of independents, signed a pledge not to enter any coalition arrangement nor to support a Government that continues to allow the use of Shannon Airport by the US Air Force in its continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many over the years have expressed a sincere commitment to the defence of Irish neutrality and have attempted to establish an independent and active foreign policy for our country.
     The present situation in regard to the formation of a new Government presents a historic opportunity to all those who believe in and cherish the hope for a more peaceful world, a world where the rule of international law is respected, and an opportunity to push that goal forward and onto the political agenda. We, like yourself, want to see the United Nations truly live up to and fulfil the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the world’s peoples, who desire and demand to see conflicts and differences settled by peaceful, negotiated means.
     For a decade or more Irish governments have lauded the great experience and achievements of what is called the “Celtic Tiger” economy. This has been held up as an example of the way forward for many countries, not just in Europe but around the world. This raises a question for us all and, more importantly, for political leaders. Why can’t we also be a moral example to the world in regard to the use of Shannon Airport? What better example could we have of saying to the world community that our foreign policy, and the decision on the use of such facilities as Shannon Airport, are guided by a moral principle: that international law must be respected, and that the United Nations is the forum in which to settle international disputes, not those with the greatest firepower.
     This historic moment provides a unique opportunity to have the views of the Irish people reflected in Government action in relation to this matter. The closing of Shannon Airport to foreign military aircraft would be nothing more than what the Irish people have expressed their desire for many times. For any future Government to no longer allow Shannon Airport to be used in unjust wars would be a major statement for world peace. It would send a clear signal of hope, of moral principle, in regard to international relations and would display real moral courage.
     We ask that the question of the use of Shannon Airport be a matter of principle to you in any negotiation regarding the make-up of the next Government. Your vote, your principled opposition, can deliver a result that the whole world can benefit from.
     We ask you to consider this request in the fraternal spirit in which we have presented our view.
     Yours in solidarity,
     Eugene McCartan,
     General Secretary

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