For me, the most worrying aspect of the Lisbon Treaty is the continued drive to create an EU army and arms industry to rival the United States. A quick look at the European Defence Agency website confirms that this is not just a conspiracy theory by the No campaign.
Green Party member and chairperson of the People’s Movement, Patricia McKenna spoke about the matter on Six One News recently (7th report, 2nd item). She seems to be particularly worried about a solidarity clause in the treaty which will require members to increase their military capabilities.
The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, made some odd comments on the matter during the week (Today with Pat Kenny, Friday, 1.33) saying that while we had reduced the number of people in our army we had increased our military capability.
He didn’t elaborate on what this increased capability was but it is difficult to see how it is possible to increase capability while at the same time reducing numbers.
If I’m interpreting the intentions of the European Defence Agency correctly then Irish citizens are in for a shock if they vote Yes in the Lisbon Treaty. (See EDA introductory video here).
Military capability is seen as critical by the EDA and that means more spending on equipment and research. The video specifically mentions heavy lift aircraft especially helicopters. By voting Yes, Ireland will be locking itself into a commitment to increase military spending.
If this happens it will mean a major change in Ireland’s defence organisation and budget. At the moment Ireland has a tiny defence force with less than ten thousand personnel in total.
The Navy operates with less than 1,000 personnel, has only one base and no real warships. By real warships I mean frigates, cruisers, destroyers and submarines not to mention aircraft carriers. To upgrade, even to the most basic NATO standard, would require a major injection of funds.
The Air Corps also operates with less than a thousand personnel and operates a hotchpotch of aircraft. It has no real war aircraft whatsoever. By real war aircraft I mean fighter jets like the F15, bombers, attack helicopters and heavy lift aircraft. To purchase even a minimum of these aircraft would require a major injection of funds not to mention massive backup support, new airfields and training.
The Army operates with about 8,000 personnel. It is a lightly armed force with no heavy armour or heavy lift capacity whatsoever. To provide these capabilities would require a major injection of funds.
There is no doubt that the EU is well advanced in its plans for an EU army and a Yes vote will almost certainly lock Ireland into making a major contribution to that force.
I’m sure many Irish citizens would have no problem with that and indeed there are good arguments to be made for the creation of an EU army. The problem is that Irish politicians are not being honest and upfront about what’s happening