'We're the weakest link in the EU when it comes to defence - we're a sitting duck'

'we're the weakest link in the eu when it comes to defence - we're a sitting duck'

‘Ireland is a sitting duck’ (file photo)

What is it with the Irish psyche that we don’t think we need to spend any serious money to defend ourselves?

We have been an independent nation for over a 100 years now after centuries of British rule yet the protection of our country and our people is not one of our top priorities.

Whether we like it or not we are seen by our European allies as the weakest link in the EU from a defence point of view – and we are a sitting duck if somebody wants to invade us.

But the lefties and the dreamers out there say we are a neutral country and why would anyone want to bother with us? All utter nonsense.

Yet the truth is we are now one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the tech capital of Europe but more importantly a land capable of growing extensive food to feed millions and an Atlantic fishery that is the envy of most countries.

We are now living in a very unstable world dominated by an evil dictator in Moscow, Vladimir Putin, who judging by his relentless war in Ukraine is hell bent on disrupting the western world and the way of life that we Irish all know and love.

If Putin decided to attack Europe, do not for one second think that we will be left untouched because little old Ireland is neutral.

The truth is if the Russians sent 10,000 to 20,000 troops into Ireland in the morning we would not be able to defend ourselves and our hard won independence would be lost.

Our Defence Forces are at rock bottom due to a horrendous lack of investment over the last 20 years.

When I was a kid the army used to be a good job with a good pension but now it is treated very unfairly as a joke and that our troops sit around doing nothing all day.

The numbers in the Irish military have dropped from 9,500 to 7,500. The Army Reserve which used to be the squash buckling FCA has 1,000 to 2,000 members at the most.

If there was a national call to arms in the morning we would be in serious trouble.

We have the situation where our Navy, which is supposed to patrol a sea area eight times bigger than our land mask, has gone from nine to three vessels.

Most days if we are lucky we have two vessels at sea – one for fisheries protection and the other to protect our waters and 3,000 miles of coastline.

No wonder the world’s leading drug cartels never mind the Russians see us as a sitting duck and more than happy taking their chances and smuggling drops into Europe via Ireland from the cocaine fields of South America.

You can rest assured for every shipment seized at least ten others have got through so no wonder the recreational drug is for sale in abundance in every parish across the country from Malin to Mizen Heads.

The Government made a big hullabaloo about the Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces. It recommended at the top end that we spend a minimum of 3 billion a year on defence and over a ten year period have at least 15 ships and a dozen fighter jets plus sonar and radar cover for our country.

The Cabinet didn’t go for it and instead opted for a level 2 approach which supposedly meant spending an extra 245 million a year on the defence budget.

As Matt Carthy of Sinn Fein told me this week, in the first two years of the new plan we have spent 70 million less each year than the state committed too.

The search to get a new radar system installed so we can police our skies is now going to take years instead of months. There is hardly a word about installing sonar systems in our ships so the crews can see what is in the sea below them .The whole process is an absolute joke.

The fact is we have civil servants running our Dept of Defence who know absolutely nothing about the military or fighting wars. They know all about Government processes and red tape. They don’t have any sense of urgency about the risk against our country.

We should have military men and women in there calling the shots.

We also need our own stand alone National Intelligence Service under the auspices of the Dept of Defence.

It is also a national disgrace that we don’t have one full time Minister for Defence in the Cabinet. We did have years ago but not any more because it is not deemed important enough.

The Tanaiste Micheal Martin is Minister for both Foreign Affairs and Defence which is wrong. These are two big departments and no person no matter how capable they are can realistically have enough time in the day to do both.

The job of Defence Minister is one of the most important jobs in every other country in the world it seems except in the Republic of Ireland.

There are only a handful of people in the Oireachtas who realise how much danger this country is in.

The Independent Kildare TD Cathal Berry, a former Army Ranger, Senator Gerard Caughwell, the former Defence Minister Charlie Flanagan, who is also head of the Dail Foreign Affairs and Defence committee, and the Sinn Fein Defence spokesman Matt Carthy are the only ones ringing the alarm bells about the lack of investment and the decline of our military but all to deaf ears so far.

The Labour party, the Social Democrats, and People Before Profit are all too obsessed about Neutrality to invest in our military properly. The current Government needs to step up to the plate or it will never happen.

The fact is most neutral countries have a substantial defence force capable of defending their lands. Both Austria and Malta , EU colleagues have.

Just look at Switzerland where every person between 18 to 30 years of age has to do national service for 21 weeks and then a couple of weeks every year. Switzerland has a population of 8 million. We should seriously think about doing the same in Ireland.

A lot of politicians in Ireland from President Higgins down are obsessed about neutrality and despise NATO. Yet what friends will Ireland be calling if we attack, yes you’ve guessed Britain and the United States, two stalwarts of NATO.

If we invested properly in our military and paid our troops properly like the Nurses, Gardai and teachers we would have little or no problem getting people to sign up and join and then we might be able to defend ourselves

We have one of the lowest defence spending per head of population and countries all over the world are laughing at us.

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