Ireland and its neutrality

The real threats to our security

Sir, – As Quakers we believe that there is that of God in everyone and in the intrinsic equality of all people.

Therefore, it follows that all war and preparation for it is contrary to the spirit and teaching of Christ. We believe in non-violence and working to seek peaceful solutions to conflict.

We are deeply worried by what appears to be a drift towards Ireland joining Nato. The present tragic war in Ukraine demonstrates all too clearly the horrific impact of modern warfare on noncombatant civilian populations.

Why is the term “security” only ever spoken about in military terms?


There are now enough armaments in the world to ensure mutually assured destruction many times over.

Surely the billions spent on the arms trade would be put to better use in the humanitarian provision of food, shelter and medical assistance in developing nations?

Currently Irish neutrality is respected throughout the world and historically we have been able, as a tiny country, to use our soft power internationally in political and diplomatic spheres, including our peacekeeping missions.

Ireland must remain neutral and non-aligned and hold a referendum to enshrine neutrality in our Constitution. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – The Irish neutrality debate indicated to me how much of our thinking about defence is out of date and is not considering the current main threats to security.

Climate change (and other environmental problems such as biodiversity loss, etc) have a huge effect on security.

Climate change increases droughts which can lead to stresses in society that can lead to violence.

In Syria, drought helped to increase tensions and was one of the reasons for the war in Syria.

The Darfur area has also suffered droughts and increasing tensions and violence.

The Pentagon considers climate change when planning war games and plans to incorporate the issue into future National Defense Strategy. It understands the dangers of the climate crisis.

So far, there has not been a serious effort to reverse climate change – plenty of talk but the emissions are still increasing after decades of talks and meetings to resolve the issue.

It is utterly pointless to spend increasing sums of money on arms when nothing is being done to reduce the building tensions in the world caused by the many environmental threats including climate change, biodiversity crises, water crises, destruction of farm land, etc.

Should we not be demilitarising the world and instead spending the limited resources on combating environmental destruction before it is too late?

We simply do not have time for wars. – Yours, etc,