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Snippet Contents:

I second Deputy Ó Snodaigh's proposed amendment. It achieves exactly what Deputy Howlin is saying. In voting on this amendment, we are not voting on the actual issue of whether we should join. We are voting on whether we should have proper debate on it. Whatever their view on the issue, it would be a missed opportunity if parties refused the opportunity of debate.
I heard the Taoiseach, who is clear in his view that we should join and that military co-operation is a central part to our new future European development. However, this is not a small issue to be decided in such a rushed way. It is a critical strategic issue in terms of our relationship with the European Union and it deserves time, debate and consideration. It should not be rushed through in two days.
Nothing that I have read in the provisions establishing PESCO states that we have to agree this by Monday, 11 December. I see no reason it could not return to the Foreign Affairs Council in the new year. This would give us time to hear different views and have a public debate. It is not just this House but our public that deserves the debate. If we as a nation are going to take this role in Europe with greater military integration and investment in armaments and so on, our public deserves for it to be debated at some length and not in a rushed manner. I agree with Deputy Ó Snodaigh's proposed amendment. In particular, I ask Fianna Fáil in its republican tradition to ask for that debate as well.