How Ross attacked Fine Gael and Labour government on this issue
The Dáil debated the same motion from Sinn Féin on March 6, 2015: Here are some extracts from what then Opposition TD Shane Ross said at the time:
"There is a repetitiveness about [these debates] that people who claim to be the champions of neutrality are more vociferous than others... "There was a time when the voice of Ireland was respected overseas and that voice was respected mainly because neutrality had an identity. We were respected for saying things which were seen as courageous, if unpopular, but that day has gone.
"I do not like to personalise my comments, but they are fair. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, has been in office for a very short time, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember a single thing he has said since he took office.
"He is the greatest advertisement for the abolition of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade...
"Surely the minister should have expressed concern about the apparent activities of the United States at Shannon Airport. Instead, he is silent and we are cowed.
"We are not a neutral nation; we are a neutered nation. We are a nation that hides behind others, seeks consensus and then makes statements in line with it, whether it be the European Union, the United States or the United Kingdom.
"One thing is certain - because of this and the former government's policy, we are now a satellite nation."