Ireland is Europe's 'weakest link' in defence and intelligence, says security expert

Ireland is Europe's 'weakest link' in defence and intelligence, says security expert

Ireland has been described as Europe's weakest link when it comes to defence and intelligence by a leading security expert.

Former army officer Tom Clonan told

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the Irish Examiner it is essential Ireland has support from other states in case of a terrorist strike.

It comes after the paper claimed that a deal has been reached that would see RAF fighters defend Ireland in the event of a 9/11 style attack.

The Irish Air Corps does not have jet fighters and would not be capable of intercepting a commercial airliner.

Mr Clonan said a greater debate was needed on the whole neutrality issue because Ireland had shifted towards an alliance with Britain, Europe, and the US — the latter moving thousands of troops through Shannon on route to Afghanistan.

“We have been the lucky generation, but political stability is coming to an end, with tensions increasing between Russia and the Baltic States, and maybe because of the possibility of having somebody like [Donald] Trump in the White House,” said Mr Clonan.

He said years of government underspending had left the Defence Forces without proper IT and it was “now not fit for purpose because of a huge brain drain”.

Irish Neutrality Alliance chairman Roger Cole said no agreement with the British, or any other government, on air defence should have been made without first getting agreement from the Dáil.

“There shouldn’t be deals done in secret,” he said.

Independent TD Mick Wallace said the public “was being kept in the dark on many things” and he was not in favour of the RAF shooting down hijacked planes in our airspace.

Ireland is Europe's 'weakest link' in defence and intelligence, says security expert

He said he would be concerned about intelligence services making a decision to shoot down a hijacked jet on the hunch that it might be deliberately flown into a target on the ground.

“Intelligence services on this planet have got it wrong many times before. If they’d got it right then 9/11 would never have happened,” said Mr Wallace.


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