Ireland’s defense and neutrality will be examined in a forum this summer

A forum will be held this summer to discuss issues related to Ireland’s defense capabilities, security and military neutrality.

The forum will take place over four days in June at three locations in Galway, Cork and Dublin.

Foreign and Defense Minister Micheal Martin announced plans for a “consultative forum on international security policy.”

He said cybersecurity, hybrid threats, critical infrastructure threats and the triple lock mechanism on Ireland’s neutrality will be “open for discussion.”

“There is a very clear need for an open, informed, respectful and evidence-based discussion of our foreign and security policy,” he said Wednesday.

“It’s a broad approach, it’s not a binary issue around military neutrality, but the broad spectrum of foreign and security policy, building on principles along the lines of the Citizens’ Assemblies model, but we will hear from a range of voices, experts and citizens.

“There is no preconceived idea as to the outcome of the debate, but I think it is important that we have this national debate.”

When asked why a Citizens’ Assembly was not created to examine the issue, Mr. Martin said that two on drugs and one on education are already planned.

“I think this model is a better model for the issue, because I think that each citizen has an interest in this, each political party has a particular political perspective on this.

“This is a question of philosophy and core political views and I think it is important that the forum facilitate the wider dissemination of those views and the public articulation of those views.”

Later, Martin told RTE Radio that the government “doesn’t have any plans” to change Ireland’s military neutrality stance, but added that a broader discussion was needed as “things have changed quite dramatically with the war in Ukraine. “.

He said Ireland needs to “look at newer threats” such as the weapons of migration and the security of infrastructure such as undersea cables.

“Instinctively, when we want to discuss issues like this, people focus on the narrow issue of military neutrality, but it’s a much larger story and narrative that we want to focus on in terms of Ireland’s role in the modern world with the changing nature of that world,” he said.

Louise Richardson, chairwoman of the Carnegie Corporation and a former vice-chancellor of Oxford University, was announced as chair of the forum.

Mr Martin said: “I am sure that Ms Richardson, who is a native of Co Waterford and a distinguished political scientist with a wealth of security policy experience in her own right, will play a very positive role in chairing the discussions.”

The forum will take place on June 22 at University College Cork, on June 23 at the University of Galway and on June 26 and 27 at Dublin Castle.

It will also be open to the general public to attend in person or virtually, and to make written submissions.

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