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NATO deal ‘does not infringe on Irish neutrality’

An agreement between the Government and NATO aimed at enhancing cyber security and protecting subsea infrastructure does not infringe on Ireland’s neutrality, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has insisted.

He said his party was involved in decisions around the agreement and did so “with the absolute confidence our neutrality remains a core of government policy, of national policy and that it does not in any way infringe it”.

The Irish Times reported that an agreement will give Ireland greater access to NATO resources including sensitive intelligence, to protect subsea infrastructure and counter threats from aggressive nations such as Russia.

Tánaiste Micheal Martin confirmed in response to a written Dáil question in December, that a new tailored arrangement had been agreed in November and will be in place until 2028.

Ireland’s relationship with NATO is set out in what is known as the Partnership for Peace (PfP) which Ireland joined in 1999.

Since 2022, that relationship has been governed by the Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP).

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In November, Ireland’s individually tailored partnership was agreed, which aims to “enhance engagement in areas of cooperation of clear interest to Ireland, such as peacekeeping, maritime security and tackling cyber and hybrid threats” according to a spokesperson for the Department of Defence.

Minister Ryan said he believes it is appropriate that the Government would use the resources of institutions like NATO to help protect the Irish people.

“It is not in any way a drift to or an intention to join NATO, it is to work within the Partnership for Peace programme to protect our people,” he said.

“We are not going to join NATO. Our neutrality is supported by the Irish people and it serves us well and correctly.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defence added: “The Government has no plans to join NATO and this does not affect Ireland’s policy of military neutrality.”

Read more: NATO: Is the future of the alliance female?

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