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11 November 1999 Edition

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Night of shame as State enters PfP

BY MICHEAL MacDONNCHA

In one of the most shameful votes in the history of Leinster House, the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael parties joined forces on Tuesday night to bring the 26-County State into NATO's so-called Partnership for Peace. This was in breach of the pre-election promise of Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil to oppose such membership and to hold a referendum.

The debate on NATO's PfP ended on Tuesday night. Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin was among five deputies who put down an amendment calling for a referendum. The Labour Party had a similar amendment. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael combined to defeat these amendments.

Those who voted against NATO's PfP were the Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin, Independent Tony Gregory, the two Green TDs John Gormley and Trevor Sergeant, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and two of the Independents who have supported the government on every vote up to this, Harry Blaney and Mildred Fox. Commenting on the vote Caoimhghín O Caoláin said:

``This was a night of shame for Fianna Fáil. We in Sinn Féin, inside and outside Leinster House, will continue to defend Irish neutrality and resist every move towards full Irish membership of NATO and the development of an EU militarised superstate.''
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