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Opposition criticise decision to join new European military co-operative

A leading security analyst has slammed the backlash against Ireland's decision to join a new European military co-operative

The Dáil has voted to join PESCO - the EU's permanent structure military cooperation agreement.

Opposition parties have warned the decision to join PESCO will undermine our neutrality - and accused the government of "ramming through" the decision.

Some argue the agreement is the first step towards the establishment of a new European Army.

Security expert Declan Power said emotion is getting in the way of the facts.

"The European army is very emotive. It gets the Brits all emotive about from one perspective, and it gets everybody here all emotive and then everybody stops listening to the facts," he said.

"The facts are PESCO is an arrangement that allows nations to work together as clusters within Europe on defence related issues. It allows us to combine with other nations on similar interests which w'ere already doing," Mr Power said.

"The current and most important thing to know about PESCO is it's not NATO. What you're signing up to as an agreement based on what you as a nation submits," he

"So Ireland is asked to submit commitments. We're not being asked to commit to a budget every year like within NATo. We say: this is what we can do, this is what we're going to do, this is in line with our foreign policy."