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Neutrality Irish style as NATO sub arrives in Cork

category cork | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday May 23, 2008 19:17author by John Jefferies - Anti War Ireland - Cork Harbourauthor address Cobh, Co. Corkauthor phone (086) 3004573 Report this post to the editors

A NATO submarine has arrived in Cork Harbour this evening.
First sighting of the Dutch sub
First sighting of the Dutch sub

The HNLMS Walrus (S802) passed Cobh around 6.45pm this evening on its way to Cork city where it will berth at the North Custom House Quay which is by now well established as a high-security berth for foreign military ships.

At almost 68 metres (223 feet) long and displacing 2,350 tonnes, the Walrus has four 21 inch (533mm) torpedo tubes which can launch US made Honeywell MK28 or MK37 torpedoes or SubHarpoon missiles.

Walrus S802 has been in the Mediterranean lately and is due to for refitting to bring it up to "21st century standards".

As the Irish people are once again told our neutrality is "safe" the presence of this NATO submarine in a sovereign Irish port is somewhat contradictory to say the least.

Related Link: http://www.marine.nl/nlmarfor/schepen/onderzeedienst/walrus/

Neutrality, Irish style - Cork Harbour 23.05.08
Neutrality, Irish style - Cork Harbour 23.05.08

author by John Jefferies - AWIpublication date Fri May 23, 2008 20:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The HNLMS (Dutch) submarine is in Cork until 08.00hrs next Monday, 26th May and will remain berthed at North Custom House Quay (near Jury's Inn).

author by Scepticpublication date Sun May 25, 2008 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is not a NATO submarine as such but one belonging to the Royal Dutch Navy.

There seems to be a widespread misunderstanding on this site about the nature of Irish neutrality. It basically means that the State would not be able to join a mutual defence pact without a referendum. It does not have any meaning beyond that. And there is certainly nothing that would prevent or discourage a courtesy visit to a port from foreign naval vessels which is a pretty well universal practice among friendly nations.

author by Seanpublication date Sun May 25, 2008 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why would friendly nations exchange warship visits? It sounds like "mine is bigger than yours" stuff. And yes, the Netherlands IS a member of NATO, therefore it is a NATO submarine. I don't know where you get the referendum stuff from. Nobody mentioned a referendum. It is about the presence of a NATO / Dutch submarine in a neutral Irish harbour.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Sun May 25, 2008 20:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Friendly" in this context means anybody you are not in state of belligerancy with. AFAIK you Irsih aren't at moment at war with the Dutch, so that's a "friendly" man-o-war.

If you don't like the visit you can tell them to leave after 24 hours. A "friendly" man-o-war doesn't need prior permission to visit, just to stay.

author by ex Sailorpublication date Sun May 25, 2008 21:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Duch submarine is paying what is known in the trade as a Courtesy Visit.

Navies around the world do this frequently by calling into ports around the world, aye even the grey funnel line from Ireland call into foreign ports.

Normal practise is to invite the civic dignitaries on board giving them lunch and a few drinks and some times this is reciprocated, when the Skipper with fellow officers have a luncheon with the Mayor.

The local pubs benefit too when the matelots have their runs ashore.

Let me asure those of nervous disposition that there is nothing deceitful or sinister in this age old naval tradition.

author by Dublin AWI'erpublication date Sun May 25, 2008 22:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

NATO is an aggressive military alliance that has been trying to suck in the 26 counties for years. The Dublin government has gone as far as the waiting room by joining the linked Partnership for Peace military group. Attempts to normalise NATO should be resisted and its presence should not be welcomed in this country. So their subs and warships should be firmly told to sod off. There's too many bloody guns in this country as it is. We don't NATO hardware dragging its sorry ass over here.

author by Edward Horgan - PANA, Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliancepublication date Mon May 26, 2008 09:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done John Jeffries, keep up your vigilance.
The Netherlands are active members of the NATO alliance. The present NATO Secretary General is Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who is Dutch. In addition, Dutch troops are serving in Afghanistan with ISAF which is the NATO force engaged in a war in Afghanistan. Therefore the Netherlands are at war, and any visit by troops from this country is in contravention of the spirit if not the letter of the Hague Convention on Neutrality, and customary international law on neutrality.
The rubbish that is being put out by the Government and others on the Yes side to the Lisbon Treaty is that Irish neutrality is some special type of limited 'military neutrality' which does not come within the Hague convention. All Irish governments since 1939 have repeatedly declared, publically and internationally, that Ireland is a neutral state, and Ireland is therefore obliged to behave in accordance with customary international law on neutrality of which the Hague convention is the foundation.
By continuing to maintain that Ireland is neutral, while allowing one million US troops to pass through Shannon airport on their way to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Ireland is guilty of international fraud, claiming the advantages of neutrality while partricipating in wars directly and indirectly.

author by jimpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 09:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We are not at war with the Dutch nor are we in a military alliance.

If the sub was refused access it would be interpreted that we are hostile to NATO.

We are neutral - that means we do not have any position on NATO, good or bad.

The posts on this site are clearly hostile to NATO, which means they would favour Ireland abandon our neutrality.

author by Crytonpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 10:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We are not at war with the Dutch nor are we in a military alliance."
And who thought that we were?

"If the sub was refused access it would be interpreted that we are hostile to NATO."

Utter rubbish. We have every right to control what military vessels enter our territory. They can like it or lump it.
Not too long ago, the Irish Navy was refused entry to the territory of a NATO country, because they hadn't applied in time for permission. This was not taken as HOSTILITY, rather than as exercising the right to control access.

"We are neutral - that means we do not have any position on NATO, good or bad."

Neutral means not aiding one side in a war, not abandoning your right to an opinion, or self determination. Being neutral does not mean lying down and letting anybody access your territory. It is the opposite in fact. We stay out of their war, they stay out of our territory during the war.

author by ex Sailorpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 13:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Being neutral does not mean lying down and letting anybody access your territory. It is the opposite in fact. We stay out of their war, they stay out of our territory during the war. "

Not strictly true under the Geneva Convention to which Ireland is a signatory - matey !

Geneva Convention articles 4 & 5

Article 4 In case of hostilities between land and naval forces of Parties to the conflict, the provisions of the present Convention shall apply only to forces on board ship. Forces put ashore shall immediately become subject to the provisions of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949.

Article 5 Neutral Powers shall apply by analogy the provisions of the present Convention to the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, and to members of the medical personnel and to chaplains of the armed forces of the Parties to the conflict received or interned in their territory, as well as to dead persons found.

And if we review the events of Irelands neutrality during WW2
then all allied seamen including aircrews, were returned to the UK via N.Ireland, whereas their German counterparts were kept in Ireland.

Plus at Foynes there was Seaplane base for aircraft coming to Europe from the USA and British seaplanes flying in from Portugal.
In Donegal there was an air corridor for UK aircraft flying into the North Atlantic and beyond.
How neutral was that ??

author by Scepticpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 14:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Afghan situation does not constitute hostiles relevant to Irish circumstances that would have anything to with Irish neutrality except in your own mind. In fact neutrality is not permitted under UN law where the UN has taken a formal position which includes military measures. For example Ireland could not have taken a neutral position on the Kuwaiti war in 1991. Irish neutrality is very circumscribed by UN membership.

In any case it is only by some convoluted logic that you arrive at your position that the Netherlands it at war. It is not at war with another State for one thing. As I understand it Dutch forces are engaged on a multilateral operation with UN sanction to defend the nascent democratic and UN recognized Afghan Government which is being attacked by atavistic Islamist and anti democratic minority forces based in Pakistan. Moreover these Taliban forces have been in Government before between 1995 and 2001. Their record was one of utter barbarism, the hosting of terrorists for attacks in Africa and other places (with mass civilian casualties) and egregious cultural vandalism as well as gross and wilful incompetence in such basics as feeding their population. Should they succeed in a violent overthrow of the Kabul Government it would be back to business as usual for the Taliban.

As you correctly point out this State is not in breach of The Hague convention provisions of neutrality as there are no relevant hostilities. Appeals based on the “spirit” of the convention or to “custom” are you own unconvincing efforts to pretend your world view has some legal validity in this regard. And of course none of this has anything to do with the visit of the Dutch naval vessel.

author by Jofipublication date Mon May 26, 2008 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Afghan situation does not constitute hostiles relevant to Irish circumstances that would have anything to with Irish neutrality except in your own mind.

Sure, after all, they are a far away people of which we know nothing... other than that, like us, they bleed when cut by shrapnel, they scream when they see their children die... but besides that... who really cares, eh?

author by ex Sailorpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Afghan situation has no relevance to a Dutch submarine

being in Cork Harbour, which is the subject under discussion !

author by awi'erpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who's occupying Afghanistan? NATO. They are a military alliance that is currently at war. Fcuk 'em. Let them refuel somewhere else. NATO shouldn't be allowed to come within Irish waters while they are an occupation force in Afghanistan.

author by ex Sailorpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's most interesting about Dutch the sub refuelling in Cork, I never thought of that.

What is fascinating is how much benefit to NATO would a submarine be in their Afghanistan conflict ?

Considering that Afghanistan is landlocked by Pakistan to the South, Iran & to the West, Turkmen to the North and China to the East .

author by awi'erpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 19:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

gee...that's a good argument. This NATO weapon of war won't be directly used in Afghanistan so we shouldn't care if its part of the NATO war machine...By the same token George W. Bush doesn't have the balls to fight on the frontline in Iraq so we'd should be protesting against him either when he lands on this island of ours. Is that the logic you are following ex-Sailor? Seems to be.

author by ex Sailorpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No that is not my argument at all, it was you who said the sub was refuelling and you who brought Afghanistan into the discussion.

I have no love for war, argument or wee georgie bush.

Am open though to honest and frank discussion without the need to use expletives or insults.

As regards war in Afghanistan I believe that it is un-winnable and that the UN or Nato troops are on a hiding to nothing; earlier the Russians tried and lost, long before them other nations including the British failed to subdue the Aghanis.

What we ae looking at is a prime example of good guerrilla warfare, fought by experts who know their landscape like the back of their hand.

Hence the phrase 'He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day' - matey!

author by Scepticpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 21:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

NATO is not at war with Afghanistan. A multilateral NATO force with UN sanction is assisting to defend Afghanistan from attacks by
Waziristan based islamists. That is a big difference. It was Mr. Horgan who brought Afghanistan into it but by a spurious logic as I have argued. Unfortunately it is not possible to protect Afghanistan from the insurgents except by military means. It is a regrettable necessity. Arguments that suggest we must boycott and spurn the Netherlands “because it is at war with Afghanistan” or similar are entirely fallacious.

author by ex Sailorpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I still say that it is a war that cannot be won, as you will see.

Those are my final words.

author by Lt Davispublication date Tue May 27, 2008 00:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's nothing wrong with this, navies all over the world do this It's just a bloody visit-nato or otherwise best to stay in with an EU country instead of fall out over something which doesn't directly affect you.

I served in the Irish Navy for 21 years, visited many countries incl USA (new york) and went to Argentina, however we where welcomed with open arms, also stopped in Porto on the way to Lebanon-no hostility whatsoever

Give these guys a break, it's hard enough being in the navy as it is

author by Battlecat - Ex Royal Navypublication date Thu Aug 07, 2014 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is nothing wrong with any visit by any Naval Ship or Submarine in an Irish Port (or a Port in any other Country), as long as they have been invited first. For example, last year Dublin played host to an extremely successful visit by the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious.

Anyway, I believe it is only a matter of time before Ireland begins to debate and question whether or not it should abandon it's neutrality and become a full member of Nato. The question is would doing so be a good thing for the Country as a whole, providing thousands of long term secure and sustainable jobs for Ireland? Quite possibly.

Today many people from The Republic of Ireland serve in the Armed Forces of the UK and The US, and in other Countries. Ireland is changing rapidly to leave it's uncertain political past behind....

author by A Freemanpublication date Thu Aug 07, 2014 21:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unless the Dutch are planning to nuke Cork this is just a nonsensical discussion?

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Yazidis, Christians and other Iraqi minorities are facing genocide at the hands of the terrorist thugs of 'Islamic State (ISIS)' in northern Iraq

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR5DV-Acd0E
author by fredpublication date Thu Aug 07, 2014 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is nothing wrong with any visit by any Naval Ship or Submarine in an Irish Port (or a Port in any other Country), as long as they have been invited first. For example, last year Dublin played host to an extremely successful visit by the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious.

Anyway, I believe it is only a matter of time before Ireland begins to debate and question whether or not it should abandon it's neutrality and become a full member of Nato. The question is would doing so be a good thing for the Country as a whole, providing thousands of long term secure and sustainable jobs for Ireland? Quite possibly.

Today many people from The Republic of Ireland serve in the Armed Forces of the UK and The US, and in other Countries. Ireland is changing rapidly to leave it's uncertain political past behind....


NATO should have disbanded after the USSR collapsed. It no longer has a reason to exist. Why is it still here trying to rekindle the cold war again and breaking the promises given to Gorbachev that "they would not advance one inch further eastwards towards Russia". It's pure bullshit.

And why the hell would Ireland want to join NATO and be a part of the lunatic brigade that is currently prodding Russia, a nuclear power, to further a US agenda to drive an economic and military wedge between Europe and Russia to help maintain US hegemony over Europe and in doing so damage trade with Russia and drive all our energy prices through the roof. After all we get our gas from Russia and our grid is 80% natural gas driven. Why the hell would we want to fight with them. The European leaders and our own are just shooting themselves in both feet here.

NATO's current insane moves towards Russia's border driven by the policies of the US, and going against clear agreements given to Gorbachev after the berlin wall fell, are pushing the world towards the brink of nuclear annihilation. For this reason, we should have nothing to do with NATO and should not allow NATO forces beyond the boundaries of our country while they insist on engaging in activities that threaten the existence whole world. In fact we should openly lobby for the disbanding of NATO which serves no purpose after the fall of the USSR, only to stoke up unnecessary military tensions to serve US geopolitical interests.

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