State security 'at grave risk' due to lack of Defence Force resources

The security of the State is at grave risk due to an influx of foreign intelligence agents, an inability to effectively protect undersea fibreoptic cables transmitting millions of financial transactions daily, and a lack of resources to counter terrorist threats.

State security 'at grave risk' due to lack of Defence Force resources

The security of the State is at grave risk due to an influx of foreign intelligence agents, an inability to effectively protect undersea fibreoptic cables transmitting millions of financial transactions daily, and a lack of resources to counter terrorist threats.

This is according to Cathal Berry, a former second-in-command of the army ranger wing, who was recently elected a TD.

He said Ireland is vulnerable due to the Defence Forces suffering years of neglect under various governments and it is imperative that swift action is taken to provide them with proper pay and allowances, which will counter the mass exodus of highly trained personnel.

The Naval Service has tied up two ships because of increasing crew shortages and a third may soon come off operations, which severely threatens maritime security.

Mr Berry said security sources have recently noticed an influx of suspected Russian spies coming into the country. The reason is unclear, but there are concerns they could disable the transatlantic cables, especially as Russian spy ships have been seen close to them.

“There would literally be billions of euro at stake if something happened to them,” said Mr Berry.

“It would not just hurt us but the New York and London stock exchanges and the worldwide economy.”

Navy officers say they are not equipped to properly monitor the cables. Their diving section is down to six personnel when they should have 27. They have to pull in divers from other units to conduct operations.

Mr Berry said “quick-fix solutions” could be implemented to stop the continuing exit of personnel.

“The Naval Service should be paid the same sea-going allowances as other maritime agencies,” he said. “The navy get €55 per day before tax. The Marine Institute pays €270 per day before tax, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority pay €105 tax free and the Revenue Commissions €65 tax free.

“These payments are compensation for childcare payments, being away from families etc. Like all public servants on land, allowances for sea-faring public servants should be standardised. That would help stop the exodus from the navy overnight.”

The Defence Forces get paid for a 40-hour week. On top of this, it is compulsory for members to do 24-hour duties on occasion. For this, they get just €3 per hour for weekdays and €4 at weekends, before tax.

“That’s modern-day slavery,” said Mr Berry.

“It’s actually costing some money as they may have to travel many miles to their barracks.

“The national minimum wage is €10.10 per hour, It’s inconceivable the minister for defence would continue to breach this legal obligation.”

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