Irish Afghanistan numbers ‘no surprise’

With reference to Edward Horgan (Letters, Mar 13) in relation to the presence of possibly eight members of the Defence Forces being stationed in Afghanistan, it should be pointed it that it is no coincidence that the number is in single figures.

Under the Defence Acts if the number of Irish soldiers exceeds 12, then a resolution has to be put to the Dáil and therefore there would have to be a debate.

But the Cabinet can approve such a number (i.e. 12 or less) of Permanent Defence Force members being stationed abroad as long as the mission complies with the Defence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1960, which limits that despatch to serving with a ’particular International United Nations Force’. While the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) is UN authorised it is, however, NATO-led and has been since 2003. Therefore, previous Irish governments, and I would guess this one too, would be extremely reluctant to allow a debate on Ireland’s role in Afghanistan, which so easily could become a debate on the death of Irish neutrality since the US ‘war on terror’. Keeping the figure of Irish soldiers operating in Afghanistan below the magical number 12, perhaps explains why six gardaí, an inspector, a sergeant and four rank-and-file officers were sent to Afghanistan in 2010 rather than six members of the military police.

The presence of both Irish soldiers and gardaí in Afghanistan is part of a continuing attempt to legitimise the disastrous US/Nato occupation and the corrupt puppet regime in Kabul.

Niall Farrell

PRO Galway Alliance Against War

Oranmore

Co Galway

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