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Brendan Smith TD



Policy Paper on
Foreign Affairs

APRIL 2015


North/South and British-Irish Relations

Peace Keeping and Neutrality

The Diaspora

European Union

Development Aid


United Nations


The Middle East


Irelands Diplomatic Footprint


Global Conflict


Human Rights


Expanding our Trade Network



Fianna Fil is committed to an Irish Foreign Policy that promotes and protects
the interests and values of the Irish people. Our policy is rooted in the primacy
of human rights, the promotion of the international rule of law and democratic

Fianna Fil has always led historic developments in Irelands foreign policy. We
sought Irish membership of the United Nations. We initiated and successfully
completed Irelands entry into the European Union. Our Party, while in
government, spearheaded the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Good
Friday Agreement and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In our history, our Party has never been afraid to be the voice of the voiceless,
to highlight injustice or to be courageous in fighting for what is right on the
international stage. We bring many of the values of our independent foreign
policy tradition to the EU and other international tables.

We commit to building on that proud tradition.

Brendan Smith TD
Fianna Fil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade


North/South and British-Irish Relations

Our Position: Fianna Fil continues to seek to secure in peace and agreement the
unity of Ireland and its people.

The Good Friday Agreement, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the people on
the island of Ireland, allows for the unity of Ireland with the consent of a majority of
the people in both parts of this island. This is a goal Fianna Fil will continue to

Since the mid-1990s the relationships between Ireland and the United Kingdom and
the relationship between the different traditions on the island of Ireland have been
transformed. Ireland is at peace. The potential and opportunity created by this peace
is unprecedented.

Fianna Fil has been central to the transformed relationships we are witnessing
today. In Government, Fianna Fil spearheaded the Downing Street Declaration, the
Good Friday Agreement, the St Andrews Agreement and the Hillsborough Castle

Direct Involvement by Governments: We believe that both the British and Irish
Governments must continue their direct involvement in consolidating and building
on the peace secured in Northern Ireland. The need to implement meaningful
proposals to deal with the past and the outstanding elements of the Good Friday
Agreement and subsequent agreements, the continuous threat from dissidents, and
the challenges of inequality and poverty necessitate direct involvement from the
national governments of both states.

All-Ireland Economy: The potential of the Good Friday Agreement can be enhanced
further to maximise the opportunities presented through the development of the allIreland economy which would increase prosperity for citizens on both sides of the
border. Cross-border infrastructure projects such as the N2/A5, the Narrow Water
Bridge Project, the restoration of the Ulster Canal and Dublin-Belfast Railway
upgrade are vital in this regard and should be pursued.


Implement Fully the Good Friday Agreement: All elements of the Good Friday
Agreement must be implemented in full. As an internationally binding agreement
both Governments and the Northern Executive must commit to passing a Bill of
Rights for Northern Ireland and introducing Acht na Gaeilge.

North/South Bodies: Fianna Fil supports increasing the number of North-South

competencies in areas where it is mutually beneficial to do so. Further co-operation
in areas such as job creation, trade, educational services in Further and Higher
Education, health service provision and policing should be examined.

Fianna Fil believes it is time to establish a Border Development Zone as a NorthSouth body which would work to integrate infrastructure and public services in
certain spheres such as health, broadband and other utilities.

North-South Institute: Fianna Fil calls for further co-operation in the area of
education and research through a formal North/South research institute. Our Party
will examine the idea of establishing a specific Institute/Department in a third level
institution to deal exclusively with North/South developments. This 'Institute' would
deal solely with driving the North/South agenda and produce research on the
potential for further development in North-South cooperation.

Civic Forum: Fianna Fil believes the Civic Forum as set out in the Good Friday
Agreement should be restored in an effort to empower communities and
organisations that are currently not heard in the Northern Ireland Assembly, yet we
recognise this is a matter for the parties in Northern Ireland.


Peace Keeping and Neutrality

Irelands strong tradition of military neutrality and non-membership of military

alliances has enhanced its capacity to play a strong role in the humanitarian and
peace-support roles of the UN and engage in the EUs Common Security and Defence
Policy where practical.

Fianna Fil is firmly opposed to the militarisation of the EU and would strenuously
oppose any move to create a European army.

Fianna Fil wishes to see the EU play a fuller part in supporting the peace support
and peace keeping efforts of the UN. The EU has a responsibility to use its resources
and capabilities to enhance its peacekeeping, peace support and humanitarian

Fianna Fil is proud of the contribution of the Defence Forces/glaigh na hireann in

UN peace-keeping missions around the world. Our continuing participation in UN
mandated peace support operations enhances our international reputation and
reaffirms our national commitment to the United Nations. Fianna Fil believes that
our Defence Forces/glaigh na hireann are of critical importance to both state and


The Diaspora

Ireland must do its utmost to engage and embrace its Diaspora. The Irish Nation is
made up of its citizens in Ireland, north and south as well as Irish people who live

As a Party, we are proud to have been the first political party to appoint a
Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and the Diaspora in the history of the

Fianna Fil welcomes the appointment of a Minster with responsibility for the Irish
Overseas and the Diaspora.

We also believe that all citizens of Ireland should be entitled to full voting rights in
Presidential elections even if resident outside the Irish State.

Fianna Fil also proposes that there should be a representative of the Diaspora
included in a reformed Seanad. This representative would act as a voice for the Irish
abroad in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Voting rights for the Diaspora should also be
examined in Seanad elections.

Funding for the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) must be ring-fenced to ensure
that the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities are supported.

The work carried out by the GAA, Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann and other voluntary
organisations must be supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs in their
exceptional work bringing together the Irish community overseas.

Fianna Fil will continue to seek a comprehensive solution to the plight of the
undocumented Irish citizens living and working in the United States.


European Union

Our Position: Fianna Fil is committed to a democratic and accountable European

Union of member states who work together for the mutual benefit of all Europes
citizens. We believe strongly in the principle of subsidiarity which guarantees the
freedom of member states to act where they are most effective. Over the past two
decades we have seen a number of European institutional developments which have
sought to deepen and enhance the process of European integration. While we do
not wish to see any of these rolled back, we do recognise that the speed and nature
of some of these moves have left many citizens unsure and disconnected from the
European Union.

The EU must pursue policies which promote growth, equality and fairness for all
citizens. While we strongly believe that Irelands best interests both politically and
economically are best served by our remaining at the centre of the European Union
and the Eurozone, we also believe that we must critically analyse all political
developments in the EU to ensure that the interests of the Irish people are best
served by those developments.

Rebuild EMU: Fianna Fil also calls for a re-examination of the structures of the
Economic and Monetary Union as well as the mandate of the European Central Bank.
The architecture to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Eurozone still needs to
be put in place to provide a secure basis for the future prosperity of the Union. The
ECBs mandate must require policies for targeted growth as well as targeting

Banking Union: Fianna Fil believes that a fully functioning banking union must
include common regulation, common deposit insurance and a common resolution
mechanism. Without these elements, a fully functioning banking union will not be

Separate Sovereign and Banking Debt: Fianna Fil believes that the EU must fulfil its
commitment to separate sovereign debt and banking debt within the Union. The
Euro Area Heads of State or Government agreed in June 2012 to break the vicious
circle between banks and sovereigns. It is now time to fulfil this commitment by


retroactively recapitalising Irish banks and recognising the unfair burden Ireland has
largely due to ECB insistence at critical points of the financial crisis.

Create a Fiscal and Transfer Union: Fianna Fil also calls for a more ambitious fiscal
union within the EU, in particular one which involves transfers between states and
allows the Union some modest revenue raising capacity in order to balance the
economic equilibrium of the EU.

Fighting Climate Change: Fianna Fil believes that Europe must lead in the fight
against climate change. We must ensure that the EU supports sustainable, sensible
and renewable energy policies at a European level. The EU must also ensure that our
international partners keep their commitments to reduce the causes of climate
change internationally. The implementation of policies to tackle climate change must
ensure the safeguarding of sustainable food production systems, which are vitally
important in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. We support policies which
reduce European dependency on outside energy resources. The EU must pursue
policies which increase energy security and stability within the Union. We need a
European energy policy which shields Europe from destabilising external political
actors who use energy resources as a political tool.

Irish Citizens at the Heart of Europe: Consideration should be given to establishing a

Training Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to promote and assist
Irish citizens in pursuing careers in the European Unions Institutions.

Enlargement: Fianna Fil believes that the EUs Enlargement policy is one of the
most effective foreign policy tools the Union has at its disposal. However, our Party
believes that it is important to consolidate the new EU legislative structures
introduced in the Treaty of Lisbon and through the ongoing building of economic
stability in the EU in advance of any further enlargement.

As the Union decides on how best to face the future, neighbouring countries should
be accommodated through the use of Partnerships which accord increasing bilateral
relations between the EU and the third-party country but does not result in full
membership of the EU in the short term.

Brexit: Ireland needs to prepare a contingency plan in the event that the UK
decides to leave the European Union. The UK is Ireland's biggest trading partner and
close ally in the European Institutions. It is also the only country with whom we

share a land border. The Irish Government must have an action plan in place where
the UK decides to leave the EU outlining policy actions which will lessen the impact
of any British decision to leave on our economy, on our position in EU and our vital
relationship with the UK overall.


Development Aid

Ireland and our people have a long and rich history of assisting developing countries
in providing health and education services through missionaries and nongovernmental organisations. Ireland should build on this rich history by seeking to
enhance our educational, political and economic links further with the developing

We constantly see personnel of Irish Non-Governmental Organisations, supported by

Irish Aid and the voluntary financial contributions of Irish people, working in the
most difficult humanitarian situations. This work must be supported and

Ireland should remain committed to the UN goal of 0.7% of GNP in development aid.
We believe that all aid donated by the Irish Government should only be granted to
countries which have a strong record of accountability and transparency in how our
citizens money is spent. The Agencies who benefit from Irish Aid must also show
that the money given goes to those who are most in need. A full annual report with
financial statements outlining where funding goes must be produced by these

Ireland must pursue the huge potential and opportunities presented by the
increasing trade and educational opportunities arising in the developing world. The
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade along with other Government Departments
and Statutory Agencies must play a central role in helping Irish business connect with
these opportunities, especially in areas which would bring significant benefits to the
local population such as renewable energy and water technology.


United Nations

Ireland believes in and is strongly supportive of the United Nations since we joined
the Organisation on 14 December 1955.

Fianna Fil remains committed to Irelands full and active participation in the UN.
However, we believe that the UN as originally constructed is in serious need of
reform. One area which must be changed is the holding of a veto by the larger
powers in the Security Council.

The Security Council of the UN must be reformed. This body suffers from a lack of
legitimacy and representation. In the 70 years since the UN was founded the number
of Member States has almost quadrupled, from 51 to 193 states, but the number of
permanent members of the Security Council (the P5) is the same today as it was
when it was created, and the number of non-permanent members has increased
only from six to 10.

Fianna Fil believes the UN Security Council must be reformed to better reflect the
current geopolitical situation in the world. Africa must be represented in any new
configuration and consideration should be given to the creation of one seat for the
European Union. The use of veto by permanent members must also be examined.

The United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) was established in 1993 as a
constituent of the Defence Forces Military College at the Curragh to draw on
Irelands unique peacekeeping experience. Fianna Fil commits to expanding this
school further and developing it as a major international academy for peacekeeping.


The Middle East

Ireland was the first European Union Member State to declare that a solution to the
conflict in the Middle East had to be based on a fully sovereign State of Palestine,
independent of and co-existing with Israel. Fianna Fil in Government launched that
policy position in 1980 and continues to strongly support that position today.

The lack of progress made in achieving that goal has been deeply unsatisfactory and
has resulted in continued instability in the region. It has added to the failure to bring
peace to both Israelis and Palestinians

Fianna Fil has spearheaded the campaign to seek the recognition of the state of
Palestine by the Irish Government and will continue to pursue this policy in

Fianna Fil continues to support any efforts to achieve a two state solution. We are
deeply concerned at the continuing advance of Israeli settlements in Palestinian
territory which are both illegal and make the two-state solution increasingly difficult
to implement.

Fianna Fail is in favour of Palestine becoming a party to the International Criminal


Fianna Fil also supports an EU-wide ban on certain Israeli settlement goods within
the Union.


Irelands Diplomatic Footprint

Ireland must examine how best to maintain and expand its diplomatic missions
across the world. As a small country which depends heavily on international trade, it
is vital that we maintain our diplomatic representation in as many countries as
possible. Where this is not viable, full use should be made of EU missions.

Our embassy network must be trade focused and work in an integrated manner with
IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and other State Agencies to ensure that no
opportunity is lost in increasing trade opportunities for Ireland.

Fianna Fil believes that our embassy network must also act as a focal point for Irish
citizens living abroad and the Diaspora. Countries that have seen an increase in Irish
citizens living and working there should be given increased resources to cater for the
needs of Irish citizens.

In larger countries, Ireland should consider expanding our Honorary Consular

network, especially in areas where there is a high Irish expatriate population.
Honorary Consulates are a cost effective way of expanding our network and
providing a service to Irish citizens who live abroad.

Fianna Fil commits to reopening our consulate in Cardiff, Wales reflecting the
strong ties between our two countries. We also committee to examining the
possibility of reopening the Irish Embassy in Tehran, in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Global Conflict

Fianna Fil supports efforts on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine. We support calls
on all sides to continue engaging in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue leading to a
lasting solution; to protect the unity and territorial integrity of the country and to
strive to ensure a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all Ukraine's citizens.
Fianna Fil supports the EU in its proposals to step-up its support for Ukraine's
economic and political reforms.

Fianna Fil is deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq
and Syria. We strongly condemn the attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State. Ireland
should support efforts by EU Member States to undermine and end the advance of
ISIS and support a political solution to the current conflict in Iraq. Ireland must also
prepare for the return of Irish citizens who have engaged in combat in Iraq and Syria.
We need to ensure that all our citizens are protected from any radical terrorist
threat posed by our own citizens, whether that threat occurs from dissidents or
those returning from the Middle East.

The Good Friday Agreement remains one of the greatest achievements of our
generation and its key lessons and experiences we should share in a structured way
with others striving to achieve peace in their own homelands. To this end Fianna Fil
would encourage the establishment of a foundation/institution to record and share
the analysis and experience of all the key players from across all communities from
the build up to the agreement, to its negotiation and to its slow, sometimes faltering
implementation. This institution would not seek to prescribe our peace process
model, but rather to encourage study visits to Ireland, North and South, to share
lessons and experiences with those who helped build peace on our island.

Ireland should continue its full support for the International Campaign to Ban
Landmines and use its influence to pursue other countries to join this campaign.


Human Rights

Promoting and protecting universal human rights must be at the heart of Ireland's
foreign policy.

Ireland must use its influence within the EU, the United Nations and amongst those
with whom we have strong bilateral relations to raise and promote the improvement
of human rights across the world.

Fianna Fil believes Ireland should promote the right to education for all and, in
particular, the rights of women to be treated equally across the world.

The protection and promotion of the rights of women in the world must inform all
aspects of our foreign policy and in particular our development aid policy.

In November 2012, Ireland was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council
for a three-year term, which began on 1 January 2013. Ireland should use this
opportunity to promote human rights in developing countries and consolidate the
case of human rights in Europe. Ireland must use every international forum to
highlight the pressing need to end the abuse of human rights.

Fianna Fil believes that the right to privacy and individual liberty is under serious
threat by both mass state surveillance programmes and the advance of large data
holding companies. There is a balance to be struck between state security and the
individuals right to privacy. Mass state surveillance programmes undermine the
values and rights associated with liberal democracies. The European Union and its
Member States have a responsibility to protect these values and as such condemn
any mass state surveillance programmes.




Fianna Fil believes in a new approach to Africa. We believe Ireland can lead a shift
in focus at European Union level from merely viewing Africa as a continent with
which the main relationship is based around aid.

Ireland must develop further partnerships with the African Union and the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Ireland currently has permanent
representatives to both bodies.

Recent economic growth experienced in Africa provides the opportunity for Ireland
to develop a new trade policy to maximise our export and investment opportunities.


Fianna Fil in Government pioneered the Asia strategy, launched in 1999. The first
phase of the Strategy, from 1999 to 2004, saw merchandise trade exports from
Ireland to Asia growing from 3.6bn in 1999 to over 6bn in 2004.

The second stage of the Asia Strategy set a target that total Irish exports to eight
priority countries [China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore,
and Vietnam] rise to 9bn per annum by 2009. By the end of 2008, total exports to
these priority countries had already reached 11 billion. From 1999 to 2009, Irish
trade with Asian countries grew by over 300%.

It is now time to develop a new trade strategy for Asia to build on the success of the
original Asia Strategy.

South/Central America

The Asia Strategy launched in 1999 had two principal objectives: to improve political
and business contacts throughout Asia and to raise awareness of Ireland both as an
investment location and as a source of high quality goods and services. As a result of
the success of this strategy Fianna Fil believes an opportunity exists for Ireland to
develop similar diplomatic, business, trade, cultural and tourism links with Latin
American countries.


Ireland's links with Latin America have not been fully celebrated or developed.
Among our first diplomatic missions were Argentina and Chile and there are strong
links between Ireland and these two countries. We need to enhance this
engagement further and develop a specific strategy to build our diplomatic and
trade network in South and Central America.

Ireland should seek to support and promote trade and political engagement with
Cuba through the European Union and encourage improvements in human rights
there. Fianna Fil supports the current EU negotiations with Cuba on a Political
Dialogue and Co-operation Agreement.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Fianna Fil supports the successful conclusion of the EU-US free trade agreement
known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership once criteria
surrounding food standards are met and the jurisdiction of our courts is not
undermined by the proposed investor- state-dispute-settlement clause. This
agreement could boost the European economy by over 100 billion annually and
would support the tentative economic recovery which is currently being experienced
in Europe.

However, Fianna Fil has serious concerns surrounding the issue of food standards
and safety. The EU must ensure that food standards are not diminished in Europe by
this agreement. In that regard, the Irish Government must raise its voice to defend
Irelands interests in agriculture and the agri-food sector in the negotiations of this
deal. Fianna Fil is also opposed to any agreement which allows for the undermining
of the Irish courts jurisdiction through an investor- state-dispute-settlement (ISDS)
clause. A successful agreement must not diminish workers rights.

The former EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, pledged that EU law on GMOs
or hormone-treated beef will not change with TTIP. This is a pledge which the Union
must be robust in enforcing. Similarly, the chief EU negotiator has ruled out mutual
recognition on chemicals between the EU and the USA. We believe this is an
important start to guaranteeing the high standard of food quality within the EU
which must be maintained.


Brendan Smith TD

Dil ireann,
Dublin 2. Phone
01-618 3376
01-618 4550
3 Carrickfern, Cavan.