Former Irish UN official returns honour in protest

In this article in Yn Commeeys Celtiagh - Celtic League Mannin it is reported that Denis Halliday, a former Irish UN official is to return the Presidents Medal he had recieved at Ireland's NUI university in Galway in the west of Ireland. This is in protest at the award of an honorary degree by the University to former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny. Denis Halliday's actions are due to what he sees as Enda Kenny's failure to protect the neutrality and peacekeeping ethic of the Irish Defence Forces: 

"The decision shortly before the end of last month by Denis Halliday a former Irish UN official to return an honour (Presidents Medal) he had received to NUI Galway goes to the heart of the debate it Ireland about how successive governments have eroded the neutrality and peacekeeping ethic built up over generations by the Irish Defence Forces.…/halliday-in-protest-over-honor…

Halliday was protesting against the decision to award an honorary degree to former Taoiseach Enda Kenny by the University and he said in a statement that Mr Kenny had “failed to respond to the concerns of many Irish people who believe in Irish neutrality “.

Mr Halliday said he believed he represented those who supported Irish military participation in UN peacekeeping functions, but opposed the Government’s facilitation of use of Shannon airport by the US military.

Factors such as the participation of the Irish Defence Forces in EU military structures, the British-Irish military accord and the continued use of Shannon by military flights by the US have energised the peace and neutrality lobby in the State in recent years.

Image: Irish Defence Forces have served with the UN as peacekeepers over fifty years. Many believe the erosion of neutrality undermines the credibility that troops have earned - often at great cost."

Bernard Moffatt
pp Celtic League


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