AN INTRIGUING EXCHANGE recently occurred in the Dáil between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and People before Profit TD Paul Murphy, which appeared to demolish much of the pro-Nato propaganda the Government deploys to justify its support for war in Ukraine and the longer-term goal of abandoning neutrality.
The sole Government argument justifying efforts to abolish the triple lock on sending Irish soldiers abroad – government, Dáil and UN Security Council sanction – has been the alleged blocking of Ireland’s freedom to act by Russia and other depraved members of the Security Council (as opposed to humanitarian members such as the US, Britain and the like).
Another argument now part of the pro-Nato group think in Government circles has been the alarmist warning that underwater cables off the south-west coast of Ireland are vulnerable to attack and destruction. The prime example of such danger, cited repeatedly, is the bombing of the undersea Nord Stream pipeline connecting Russia to Germany.
A constant assertion is that the Russians were responsible for the destruction of their own pipelines and, recently, even the Kakhovka dam, which the Ukrainian army has been shelling regularly since last summer. That President Joe Biden appeared to boast in advance that the US could bomb the Nord Stream pipeline has not stopped Ireland’s Nato fans from claiming that the devious Russians were responsible.
In February 2022, Biden, standing alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the White House, warned: “If Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it… We will – I promise you, we’ll be able to do it.”
The latest and more refined theory favoured by the West is that it was executed by Ukrainians – but not Ukrainians connected to the Ukrainian government and certainly not the US, despite Biden’s boast.
Varadkar recently told the Dáil: “Underwater cables and pipelines are a security issue, more so than ever given what has been happening with Nord Stream and so-called scientific vessels in our waters.”
This was on April 25, the day after he returned from the North Sea Summit in Ostend attended by leaders of the main EU countries as well as Britain and Norway. RTÉ reported that several leaders urged the need to ensure security of offshore wind farms and interconnectors given “a Russian spy ship in the North Sea and last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines”.
However, a more informative dialogue then ensued between Murphy and Varadkar when the former asked: “Was there any discussion at this summit about Nord Stream, in particular the blowing up or destruction of Nord Stream, which had such devastating impacts on people, with the increase in gas prices, which was a consequence, and the largest single discharge of methane the world has ever seen, with significant environmental consequences? … There was a recent vote at the UN Security Council whereby the US and several of its allies abstained on a motion in order to block a resolution providing for an independent international investigation to find out who was responsible. Was that discussed at the summit? Does the Irish Government agree with the idea of an independent international investigation and will it support efforts to create one?”
Vlad did not say if he supported an independent inquiry but he did say: “There were no discussions specifically on the Nord Stream pipeline. However, we obviously did have a discussion on the security of pipelines into the future and also undersea cables to make sure they are designed in such a way that they are not easy to tamper with.”
Given the alarming prophecies uttered by Vlad and supporters about the dastardly Russians and their alleged responsibility for the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, this is an admission of serious negligence on the Taoiseach’s part as well as that of our ‘western allies’.
The Taoiseach’s disarming remarks also betray the true state of affairs on the UN Security Council where, as the behaviour of the US and others (ie Britain and France) showed, it is not just the Russians that obstruct progress at the UN. And why would these western states refuse to support an independent investigation anyway?
That’s two of the most significant arguments used by the Government and others to attack Irish neutrality blown out of the water, so to speak, in just a few disarmingly honest sentences from the Taoiseach.