Monday 23 April 2018

Ireland not neutral, German leader told

Brian Hutton

CHARLES Haughey denied Ireland was neutral during talks with his West German counterpart Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

State papers show the leaders discussed Ireland's refusal to join NATO during a meeting in Bonn, on March 31, 1981.

Chancellor Schmidt asked Mr Haughey if he could raise a "pertinent question" about whether the main reason for remaining outside the Atlantic alliance was because of Ireland's troubled relationship with Britain.

Did this traditional position of neutrality give the Irish people the idea that they were not militarily threatened? he also asked.

"Ideologically and politically, Ireland is not neutral," Mr Haughey replied.

If there was to be movement towards political integration in Europe involving defence obligations, Ireland would play its part in this.

The Taoiseach also warned that the "Northern Ireland problem" was bedevilling relations between Ireland and Britain.

Irish Independent

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