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People Before Profit protest for Irish neutrality

People Before Profit (PBP) held a protest outside the Dáil in late April to defend Irish neutrality and to condemn the attacks and invasions of Yemen and Ukraine.

The protest commenced at 6pm outside the Dáil. Politicians who spoke at the event including Catherine Connolly TD, Richard Boyd Barrett TD and John Brady spokesperson for Sinn Féin.

Protesters hold sign reading: ‘stop war Yemen and Ukraine no militarization no NATO’ Image/ René Melia

Amy Flood attended the protest with her partner Michael and said she believed the turnout of people at the protest was “great”.

“Not everybody here has the same political ideas down to the bone, but we can together on issues that are this serious,” she said.

“It’s been in everybody’s beliefs to stay neutral and we have a stronger voice as a neutral country – for that to come into threat now is terrifying.”

Flood said she fears neutrality may be eroded in small ways that add up: “It’s not just about this one tiny thing, it’s about what each tiny little step leads into and where Ireland will end up in ten years’ time.”

Amy Flood stands outside the Dáil holding up a sign that reads: ‘Neutrality does not equal indifference’. Photo: René Melia

“We are in a better position to take in refugees, support people on the ground, like we always have, and open our arms up as the warm Irish people we have always been,” she said. “It’s what we stand for as a nation.”

PBP moved its neutrality bill into its first stage in the Dáil on 30 March.

The bill aims to put Irish neutrality explicitly in the Constitution.

“I am more disgusted by the fact Irish neutrality is becoming a question.”

PBP TD Paul Murphy has said: “It has been clear for a number of months now that the Government is trying to erode Irish neutrality. We can see from statements made by Minister Simon Coveney that the government has been involved in shaping the EU Strategic Compass and has designs on Ireland participating in the mooted rapid reaction force.”

Richard Boyd Barrett, PBP TD speaks at the protest and asks protesters to chant, “Simon Coveney hear us say, Ireland’s neutrality is here to stay.” Image/ René Melia

When asked about how he felt about Irish neutrality being under threat, Michael said, “I am more disgusted by the fact Irish neutrality is becoming a question.

“There is a bolstering of egos going on right now within the Dáil. We can do more good with our aid and with diplomatic ties than we can by throwing guns at an issue every five minutes.

“I think it’s out of touch to what the reality of this country actually is. There’s two different Irelands – there’s the Ireland we live in and the Ireland the Dáil lives in.”

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