Thursday, February 16, 2006

Irish media silence on neutrality

You would think that the erosion of Irish neutrality would be something that the Irish media would love to gets it teeth into. Its a big story and one I believe that everyone in Ireland would have a strong opinion on. However the broadsheet print media have largely ignored the story with a meagre 8 mentions in the press since Thursday the 9th when RTE first broke the news on its website that Wille O'Dea is to introduce legislation to allow Irish forces to participate in EU battle groups. (I'm sure there were articles in the tabloids but I don't consider them newspapers or even worthy of the title newspapers,perhaps gossipsoccertitspaper would be more appropriate)

Lets balance that against the number of mentions of the Six Nations got since the 9th - over 150 articles! Fair enough it was a match weekend but ffs why is rugby more imortant than our neutrality?
The count was done using Electric Search media monitoring software which is usually spot on although it only brings back mentions from online media but it still is a good guide as to where the priorities of the Irish media lie.

The articles I came across discussing Irish neutrality are as follows:
9th Feb
RTE: O'Dea says Irish troops can serve in EU force Soldiers to be readied to join EU battle groups Soldiers to be readied to join EU battle groups
Irish Times: Irish soldiers will help to enforce peace
Irish Times: Latest step on march to EU battlegroups
Examier: Legislation imminent for EU battle group role
Irish Indo: Why a global army is the answer to a corrupt UN

I also noticed a front page article in the Metro freebie on the 10th of Feb as well but they have no prescence online so there's no link. The article ran with the headline 'Irish troops face mission to Iraq'! Make what you will of that!

But how neutral has Ireland been anyway? Surely aiding and abetting the US by providing refueling in Shannon for CIA torture flights means that our neutrality is a thing of the past? Well lets see what the Hague convention says about that:

-A neutral Government is bound to employ the means at its disposal to prevent the fitting out or arming of any vessel within its jurisdiction which it has reason to believe is intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, against a Power with which that Government is at peace. It is also bound to display the same vigilance to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, which had been adapted entirely or partly within the said jurisdiction for use in war.

So there it is, Irish neutrality is no more and the media don't give two hoots.


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