Protests were staged against the presence of four Dutch Nato navy vessels which were visiting Cork yesterday and today, by a group called the Irish Neutrality Campaign.
Protests took place yesterday at Deepwater Quay, Cobh and today, at Horgan’s Quay in Cork City.
“We tried to speak with someone from the ship, but nobody would," group spokesperson, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla said on Friday. "Four or five people spoke and made our protest peacefully.”
Mr Ó Cadhla said the visits represented a breach of Irish neutrality.
“Holland has a history of aggressive wars with Nato,” he said. “This, we regard, as a gross violation of the neutrality of Ireland.
He said the suggested removal of Ireland’s ‘triple lock’ mechanism at the UN level, combined with Ireland’s participation in Nato’s Partnership for Peace programme, “tells us that the Government has no regard for the express wishes of the vast majority of Irish citizens, which is in favour of peace and neutrality.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that “visits from foreign naval vessels are a long-standing and common practice in Ireland and worldwide.
"It is therefore normal and welcome for foreign naval vessels to visit Irish ports.
“Foreign naval vessels are only granted permission to visit Irish ports on condition that they meet the necessary policy stipulations.
"In particular, these require that naval vessels visiting Irish ports do not carry nuclear weapons and do not engage in military exercises. These are the standard stipulations for any naval vessel to visit an Irish port.
“Ireland’s longstanding policy of neutrality is characterised by non-membership of military alliances and means that we do not participate in common or mutual defence arrangements.
“In this context, port visits like this one are simply a reflection of our engagement and friendly relations with our neighbours."