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Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Helen McEntee)

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Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Helen McEntee)

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Deputy for his question. It is absolutely the case that our neutrality will not come into question in this context. I think our long-standing policy of military neutrality is sufficiently safeguarded, particularly through the existing constitutional provisions, including the protocol to the Lisbon treaty. Our commitment to this policy was reconfirmed in the Global Island foreign policy review and in the White Paper on Defence, which was published in 2015. I think it is time to start looking at security and defence in a different way. We will remain neutral with regard to our Army and its activities. We are talking about a different kind of threat now. We are talking about cyber-threats. People are walking down the street wielding knives, or walking into concerts to blow up young children, their parents and others who are with them. We need to start engaging with our European counterparts. We need to start tackling information that is being spread through the Internet to encourage these kinds of acts. We will remain neutral when it comes to our military defence. This cannot be changed other than by means of a decision of the Irish people.