Speaking on Thursday, following his appointment as the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD thanked his party leader Mary Lou McDonald TD for his promotion.
Deputy Brady outlined a number of areas of concern, where he would be applying particular focus:
“At a time when the country is beginning to emerge from restrictions imposed in order to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, we begin the task of addressing the economic impact which this has had; I will be demanding that this government starts to up its game in relation to the Next Generation EU package of €750 Billion; a fund of which Ireland is set to receive only a fraction of one percent.
There is an absolute failure to take into account the scale of challenges that Ireland continues to address. Not least of which is Brexit. We are currently hurtling down the road towards the Brexit deadline at the end of the year. Whilst negotiations continue between the EU and the British government, it is critical that we ensure the avoidance of an internal border on the island of Ireland. One of the key priorities will be to ensure that the Irish Protocol and the Good Friday Agreement are defended.
Sinn Féin has committed to holding a referendum in order to ensure that the principle of neutrality is enshrined in the Irish Constitution. I intend to do everything that I can, to prevent the government from further eroding Irish neutrality.
The record of the Irish Army in the service of the United Nations is second to none. The Irish military has become synonymous with peace keeping missions throughout the World. It is the responsibility of the minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence to ensure that our troops have resources to carry out this valuable work. The disgraceful disregard for our armed forces has to end; I will ensure that neither the minister, nor government, will be unable to hide from their responsibilities towards our military personnel.
At a time when Ireland enjoys the position of membership of the UN Security Council we must use this position to enhance our relationship and commitments to the UN. We must work to actively promote UN reform and capacity-building in order to create a revitalised UN which is capable of fulfilling the promise of the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of upholding international law.
I intend to work with stakeholders and lobby for an increased role for Ireland in addressing poverty and hunger through both Irish Aid, and our influence within the international community. We cannot separate our concern with international Security from the conditions that produce the very crisis that create the security concerns that beset the world.
Decades of economic mismanagement have fuelled the tragic export of our youth from these shores. Sinn Féin is committed to giving a voice to the Irish Diaspora. We have argued, and will continue to argue and campaign on behalf of the diaspora.
Currently, the citizens of Palestine are living in fear of the consequences of the threat of the impending Israeli annexation in the West Bank. Ireland must recognise the state of Palestine. It must use its influence in the UN and in the wider international community to argue for sanctions against Israel in the same manner that it would so against the naked aggression of any other state which sought to overwhelm a smaller neighbour through the use of force.”
In closing Brady reiterated his commitment to hold the Minister and Government to account in the Dáil, but wryly added that “he would also be watching the performances of Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly and Fine Gael’s Simon Harris closely to ensure that Wicklow was not left behind in the government’s plans as was the case under the outgoing government arrangement of supply and demand under the two parties.”