I asked two questions relating to foreign policy in Fuller Democracy 2016.


The first question was whether Ireland should enshrine neutrality in the Constitution, a measure 89% of people who took part in Fingal supported. Such a change to the constitution would require a referendum. The Citizens’ Assembly will be debating our referendum rules in early 2018. Depending on the outcome of that debate, citizen-initiated referenda (as are currently held in Switzerland) may become possible in Ireland (currently, only the Oireachtas can call a referendum). In that case, helping to bring about a referendum on neutrality will be something that I can work towards more directly.

For the time being, I occasionally advise and support groups associated with protesting American military use of Shannon airbase.

Personally, I feel that Ireland has much to gain from becoming officially neutral. Enshrining neutrality in the Constitution would give us the perfect foundation to avoid entangling ourselves in the military policy of foreign powers, and also deliver us a solid position from which to expand our international influence as a non-partisan negotiator. As a small nation, we are much better suited to making peace than war, and I think this is what most of us would prefer to spend our time doing.

The North

The second question I asked was whether we should increase our efforts to reunite with the North. It might surprise many people who have spent their entire lives in Ireland to know that the idea of Irish reunification is an enormously popular one abroad. Thus, one of the biggest surprises to me when I first moved to Ireland was to learn how unenthused many people on the island were about reunification. Only 45% of people in Fuller Democracy 2016 voted in favour of increasing efforts to reunite Ireland. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, but I agreed to do what my constituents want, so this is on ice for the foreseeable future.