Experts have advised that Irish defence was now approaching a “critical decision point” in respect of its long-term direction.

Ireland must invest in its air, sea and cybersecurity to fend off threats from hostile states, such as Russia, a number of military officers and academics have said.

Writing in the Irish Defence Forces ‘Defence Review 2020‘, Commandant Derek McGourty said:

“There have been further incursions by Russian military aircraft into Irish airspace and reports of increasing Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic and Irish Sea, which have added to growing concerns about Ireland’s inability to protect its critical national infrastructure including transatlantic fibre-optic cables that lie in Irish coastal waters.

The Irish Naval service has no anti-submarine capability and its ability to deter or even detect such maritime intelligence gathering is exceptionally limited. Neither has Ireland got the radar, air defence, and air interdiction capability necessary to deter and monitor Russian or other aircraft entering Irish airspace without permission and instead relies on the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force to carry out this task on its behalf.”

Lecturer in European Studies Viktoriya Fedorchak also states:

“I remain convinced that the key to solving the air policing problem of Irish airspace is in procuring fighter jets for the Air Corps and establishing national air policing here. Such a decision would signal a national commitment to defending its security and sovereignty. It could also stimulate better and more functional bilateral collaboration with Ireland’s closest neighbour, the UK. No matter how hopeful and optimistic one may be, the ‘what if?’ case scenario seems to remind of itself more often today than before. Being prepared has always been half the battle won.”

She outlines three options to do this says Security Correspondent for the Irish Examiner Cormac O’Keeffe here:

  • Unilateral: Purchase of fighter jets by the State for the Air Corps, giving “substantial benefits” for Irish national security. It said the Air Corps would be able to attract more recruits and qualified specialists and would signal the security and defence self-sufficiency of the Irish state to Russian bombers and hijacked civilian aircraft;
  • Bilateral: The current arrangement with Britain, but she warned, in a worse-case scenario, the protection of Irish airspace may not be the priority for another sovereign country;
  • International: Request an extension of NATO air policing over Irish airspace, but she said this would be the most challenging option given the “political complexity” of making it happen Dr Fedorchak said she was convinced the first option was the best one.

What is the current situation?

Ireland lacks aircraft that can climb high enough or go fast enough to intercept Russian aircraft. As a result, Ireland and the UK have an agreement to allow British combat aircraft to overfly the Republic.

The UK isn’t simply protecting Irish airspace as such, the agreement is mutually beneficial, you can read more on this by clicking below.

Why do British jets ‘protect’ Irish airspace?

What about Irish neutrality?

Eoin Micheál McNamara, a PhD researcher at the University of Tartu in Estonia, wrote in the review:

“Gustav Gressel argues that ‘Russia doesn’t really recognise neutrality [including
Ireland’s]. The Kremlin still has a Soviet mindset. They see neutrality as tactical. Ireland is viewed as a weak spot for the enemy and nothing more.’ Despite the presence of the UK’s RAF, Dublin’s inability to monitor and police its own airspace allows Russia’s military aircraft greater freedom of action to conduct manoeuvres. Ireland is a neutral state, but this military deficit can still assist a Russian strategy that is broadly focused on NATO.

As a particular concern for the UK’s RAF, opportunities for Russian reconnaissance to survey the reaction times of NATO members sharing Ireland’s strategic theatre are increased. There is a risk that some intelligence gathered through these manoeuvres could be transferred to advantage the Russian military in other strategic theatres where Moscow competes with Western actors.”

Where can I read the review?

In the review, which can be found here, the security experts examine many aspects of what they believe to be shortcomings in airspace policing, maritime security and cyber defence.

You can read more here.

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Brom
Brom
6 months ago

Defence is a government’s first duty. As an Irishman I think it’s appalling that this abdication of duty is allowed to continue

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Brom

There is zero public/political will for it to change however, this review will be ignored.

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark and Brom, do you think there is a will for this to happen within the country ????

I ask because politicians will listen if its politically expedient but if there isn’t the interest then I can’t see it.

Cheers.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

To be blunt, no. The average Irish voter doesn’t care about Defence, domestic concerns far out weigh them, even the most basic capital investment gets attacked from TD’s and the public, for example the P60 class investment faced demands that instead the 30+ year old P20’s should be kept going instead as €60 million a ship was just too expensive…

Brom
Brom
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Politicians are the same the world over, if there’s nothing in it for them things won’t change. I agree with Mark. There’s no appetite for defence spending, they’ll continue to rely on the uk

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  Brom

Thanks Mark and Brom for your replies. Yeah I kind of got that vibe, I can understand it to an extent, especially if you were having to buy from abroad so it would be more money going out of the country on a ‘what if’. From the outside when you look at neutral countries like Sweden and how they do their neutrality Ireland’s approach does seem ‘brave’. I assume there is no interest in joining NATO either ??? That could at least deliver ‘foreign’ service people in the Republic that weren’t Brits. Guess the 2% might put the mockers on… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Every nation is different, from the start of the nation the military faced challenges, from being forbidden from having a Navy by London, to the Civil War and the suspicions the Government/Civil Service held about the Army afterwards, to the general state of the Irish economy into the 80’s/90’s, the policy has always been to limit the spend on defence.

There have been several chances for different positions, but events never quite got there.

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Aye, different countries have subtle differences that push them down different paths, at least ‘zeitgeist-wise. In an ideal world we wouldn’t be spending anything on defence (don’t tell anyone on here I said that 😉 ) but as we don’t live in that ideal world we kind of have to. I can understand from an ROI point of view, if they have a neighbour who is going to do it anyway, why pay for it. Especially if its not going to lose you any votes. Is it a regular thing anyway ??? How often are UK jets intercepting in Irish… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

They generally don;y intercept in Irish airspace (off the top of my head the only time I remember was during 9/11), it’s more operations in Irish controlled airspace, down the West Coast as the Bear’s do their usual run. And given just how far it is from the public’s view, again trying to get public/political support for a “just in case” for escorting non-identifying Bears that far out is “hard”.

Airborne
Airborne
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Marks the SME on this one tonight troops. While I disagree on a number of your posts you are absolutely correct about the general lack of interest in military matters by the general populations of most countries. And that also includes the vast majority of politicians, unless of course they are MPs for a garrison or navy town! And for the record, having worked with a few IDF blokes on a job or two, generaly good lads and up for it. Cheers.

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Brom

It’s certainly true that Russia simply doesn’t respect international neutrality …. To be fair, if Russia has an issue with the EU, then the Republic is a convenient place to ‘mess’ with it, from an aviation perspective. Interestingly, if the EU decides on a military structure, will that mean that the Republics long held neutrality will be voided? I’ve no problems with helping Ireland to protect its airspace, or perhaps track the odd submarine, just charge for services rendered at cost. It’s the best solution all round….. And no need to mention “leaving the lights on” I mentioned it once,… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Ireland’s “long held neutrality” is more Ireland’s politicians long held position on not spending on defence. If over time the EU does move in that direction, while the Shinners and the broad Left will scream bloody murder FG/FF won’t make a huge issue of it. As for charging the Republic, again as I pointed out, Any Defence Agreement will and has been driven by London not Dublin, if Whitehall decides not to charge that’s up to them (and has history, the UK paid for all the Lighthouses/bouys up until the 00’s for example as nobody got around to noticing it… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Sounds like it’s high time the UK charges for services rendered then Mark, it hardly seems fair the UK tax payer effectively pays this tab, while the Irish tax payer can invest more in public services….

A curious state of affairs that clearly needs revisiting. Paying for only what you use, is a very cost effective method of defence after all.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

That’s for the U.K. to decide, but given the agreement was for covering Irish airspace, I don’t actually know if it covers the Bear interceptions at all anyway, as those aren’t in Irish airspace technically.

Longtime
Longtime
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

The agreement is to cover the Irish area of interest not direct airspace. The bears are in the Shanwick FIR though and the Irish have to maintain flight safety in that Region so still in the Irish area of responsibility. Best way all round should be an arrangement like Qatar have with the RAF; joint UK Irish squadron of Typhoons 50/50 split on personnel and then negotiate a buy rate for Irish air corp to purchase 4-6 aircraft alongside that, ultimately it would give Irish Air Corp knowledge at operating fast jets and maybe even jump start it’s own fast… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Longtime

Again, not something that DOD/Finance/the Daíl/public would ever support paying for. FFS the DOD wouldn’t even spring a couple of million for a spare PC12.

There seems to be a hell of a gap of awareness of just how limited the AC establishment is.

Longtime
Longtime
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark I’m not saying anybodies will to spend is aligned with actually doing it, we’ve had that debate before.
Just in my mind it seems the simplest and cheapest way for the IAC to start the back rolling if they wanted too operate fast jets in the future.
Personally until there is a challenge to Irish neutrality I can’t see any political side improving any of the Irish forces and the RAF will continue to do the job because it benefits both sides of Irish Sea and international flight safety to do so.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Longtime

Not sure I’d agree with it being the cheapest/simplest like it or not UK forces in Ireland brings security headaches other nations simply don’t.

Then you get into whether the Typhoon is the option to go for, if Austria is handing back theirs and looking for a cheaper option, it’s unlikely even if we were spending 2% that it would be the choice for us. Likely either F16’s or Gripens either of which working with either the US or Sweden means a lot less political headaches.

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

It’s a shame Mark, that said, the Irish Government have got away with it so far, so why spend when you don’t have too???

If the neighbour is silly enough to hop over the fence, weed the flower borders and cut the lawn for free, let them crack on mate….

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Agree John.
It needs looking at in detail. If we are still to protect Irish airspace after Brexit then the republic can pay for every occasion we have to intercept a pesky Bear bomber flying towards Irish airspace.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 months ago

Short of them investing tens – possibly hundreds – of billions in fast air, anti-sub capabilities, a functioning navy and radar infrastructure, I expect this won’t happen

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Hundreds of billions? Really? A former AC General has put the price tag for a bare bones QRA at somewhere around a couple of billion for stand up costs and a deal like the Eastern European Gripen lease.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

The cost of buying airframes is the cheapest part. Infrastructure, training, administration etc all inflate costs massively. Add into that the same costs for building a navy past their handful of OPVs and I could see that reaching the high end of tens of billions over a long period of time

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Every nation that spends on defence would reach “tens of billions over a long period of time”, that’s kind of meaningless tbh. Like I said, some point last year one of the AC former CO’s put it at about a billion in operational costs and about the same in one off start up costs for a bare bones QRA.

David
David
6 months ago

a worse-case scenario, the protection of Irish airspace may not be the priority for another sovereign country”

That is why you need at least some capacity to defend yourself

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago

Sweden has been and is being forced to relinquish its 20c neutrality. They don’t want Ericsson to be David to a Huawei Goliath. Circumstances change and Ireland needs to think about making decisions. Ireland is home to several US pharma and IT corporations and network infrastructure. It is in their national interest to fend off prying prying Russian eyes.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Don’t disagree with that, however the Irish DOD and Irish Politics will never see things that way.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

One commercially damaging hack on a US company might change that. Would relying on the UK for QRA be easier if the RAF flew from Aldegrove or is that too much of a political ask?
To be honest I think the Irish should make a start by addressing their naval manning issues and getting all their OPVs with VDS at sea.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Without question that will change things, the problem that both the DF and Gardaí have faced for Cyber specialists is said US companies pretty much head hunt as soon as anyone gets trained up. Any issue about basing in Aldegrove is a domestic UK one, likely the UK would like to avoid the issues it would create in NI though (and the additional security it would need), actually when was the last time FJ were based in Aldegrove? The Naval issues are a decade in creation, between the establishment figures always being low for the existing hulls, and then adding… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago

If we get a no deal Brexit. Like it seems is now going to occur, then I think the RAF should no longer guard Irish airspace.
Let Russian strategic bombers overfly the Irish republic.
Maybe Joe Bidden will then send American jets to guard Ireland or god forbid the Irish have to fund their own defence? Or maybe the EU will have to deploy jets to guard Ireland. As Ireland are not part of NATO we have zero treaty obligations to their national defence.

RobW
RobW
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Really? We share a complicated history with Ireland but they are our friends. It is also overwhelmingly in our own interests to continue to provide air defence.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Complicated history. Agree about that. How exactly are they our friends. Since a democratic vote to leave the EU our so called friends and neighbours have done nothing but disrespect, scoff at and be utterly rude to the UK.
I think it’s time we disengaged and let Irekand defend itself.
Although I think Irish Joe Bidden would then deploy US jets to defend Irish airspace. Regardless it would not be the RAFs responsibility and UK taxpayers paying the costs.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Ireland has pursued it’s own foreign policy aims as any nation has the right to do so, we are under no obligation to screw ourselves over just to make the UK’s decision less painful for the UK.

Nobody in Ireland makes the UK operate the RAF coverage, that’s a decision taken in Whitehall.

Frank62
Frank62
6 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Agreed. We owe too much to the Irish for serving in our forces in 2 world wars plus, the many Irish families within the UK & of course N Ireland is on the same island for goodness sake. We should give them every respect but they need to do a bit more to defend their integrety rather than allowing an easy access point tothe UK or Europe. A squadron of fighters & a couple of ASW light frigates would be a start. But then again they’re also covered within NATO’s operating area, so bask in the possibly mistaken safety of… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Plus the huge Irish lobby in the USA, so maybe the Yanks would be willing to step in to guard any threats to Eire.

David Flandry
David Flandry
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Sure, let someone else guard Ireland.

Shaun
Shaun
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Enlightened self interest will ensure we continue to do so.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I would totally agree but a lot of historical English interest in Ireland has been due to perceived weakness in the defence of the realm from the fear of Spanish or French occupation putting us in a vice right up to the desire by Roosevelt to forcibly occupy Irish ports to bolster the war in the Atlantic. In all honesty Irish do has always been very narrowly Irish Sea orientated and fears of others to their freedoms has been totally ignored as a result even in far more dangerous moments, can’t see that changing in the present circumstances or until… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

It was Churchill that wanted to occupy the Treaty Ports, Roosevelt just disliked Irish Neutrality.

BB85
BB85
6 months ago

I don’t see ireland ever purchasing its own subs, but it should be able to lease 12 JAS Gripens over 30 years.
I can’t see Russia ever bombing Ireland either but we could see a situation where a bomber needs to crash land off the west coast or if terrorists hijack and airline over the atlantic and want to land in Ireland, it wouldn’t be right that the RAF escort it over Irish airspace to Shannon or Dublin.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Nah, subs are not something that will ever happen, but as you say a Gripen Lease isn’t an impossibility, however between the Irish DOD, the political/public resistance to Defence spending, and the interservice rivalries it’s highly unlikely to ever happen.

BB85
BB85
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Yeah, the Irish army does seem to be very neglected as well. They could really do with better equipment even if it is just for peacekeeping missions.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  BB85

There’s plenty of issues, the Mowag order was to be more but that got curtailed to buy MRAP vehicles. The main issue is that effectively the DF is 15 years behind in their Capital plans due to the 08 Crash, so the €600+ million for the P60’s, Casa 295’s and the MPV were meant to have been done a decade ago. The Army has been the service that in Capital terms have lost out for the other services. Course the other issue is that for the sake of politics, the Irish Government acts like somehow those peacekeeping missions are “non… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Correct, far to many politicians like to get involved in “peacekeeping jobs” with the UN, as it brings funding and kudos. However most lack the understanding that to enforce a peace or a plan, then enforcement may mean kinetic ops and a bit of a ruck with the bad guys. And with the extended chain of command and political pandering by the UN, and the lack of decent rules of engagement and equipment, then these ops drag out and decent people get killed. Dislike the UN with a vengeance, absolute waste of time, money and effort. Cheers mate.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago

Good luck to them if they decide to up the ante.

Until then, it is right the RAF are able to use that airspace if needed.
For our and their defence.

And not just from Russian aircraft.

Challenger
Challenger
6 months ago

Even doing air defence on the cheap isn’t that cheap. Aircraft, support and training pipelines, basing infrastructure, radars networks….it all add’s up.

Given that it’s very much in the UK’s interest to monitor and police all of the airspace around the British Isles it makes much more sense for them to continue to let us provide it.

A bit of gratitude, and dare i say it a bit of investment (if not cash then maybe individual Irish pilots on secondments to RAF QRA squadrons) would be nice!

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

There’s not a single Irish pilot qualified on Jets and given the shortfall we currently have (with pilots out in Australia and the US for training) I can’t see that changing. As to “gratitude”, what exactly do you want? I presume the UK decided whether or not they wanted Ireland to pay for the agreement, and at any time could seek to change the Agreement if they wanted to.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mark
Challenger
Challenger
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Our pilot training system is indeed overburdened and could do with being expanded for all sorts of reasons.

My point was that regardless of what reasoning the UK has for undertaking the monitoring of all of the airspace around the British Isles including Ireland the Republic should be thankful that it doesn’t have to pay for it themselves and perhaps volunteer to contribute in some way to reflect that.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Given that said agreement has never even been discussed to any great degree, I imagine it will only be when the official records are released who knows what was agreed, but as I said London would have been and is the one that sets the terms for the use of the RAF, so maybe it might be better to ask what Whitehall wanted.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Or…maybe they could pay us for this service. Say £500 million a year? Seems about right and cheaper then Ireland having to fund it’s own QRA service as well as airbases, groundcrew, airfield, weaponry, radars etc etc

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Not a chance in hell.

Richard B
Richard B
6 months ago

Isn’t joint defence the point of NATO?
ROI need to either join NATO or pay for effective defence capabilities. It’s a sovereign choice.
The first responsibility of any Government is to keep it constituents safe.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard B

And the Irish Government would respond that there isn’t any clear threat to Ireland to justify the expenditure, and the welfare of the population comes first.

BB85
BB85
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Sure the odds of Russia actually dropping bombs on Ireland are slim to 0, but what about an airline hijacking over the atlantic. It shouldnt be up to the UK to police a dangerous aircraft through Irish airspace.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I’m not disagreeing with you, however the odds of that compared to the likelihood of at least a couple of billion in stand up costs and then maybe another billion in current spending isn’t something that is politically viable, the Irish public just aren’t going to support it.

The last chance of any change was 9/11, if the UK had pushed then when they provided emergency coverage, maybe Dublin would have considered some sort of capability, but that didn’t happen.

Dern
Dern
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard B

I think you’ll find the Irish consituents feel very safe.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard B

ROI are not in NATO therefore no treaty obligation to protect ROI

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

One huge bit that the Review might not deal with is that any further airframes and the AC will have to move out of Dublin with all the overheads that will add to costs.

geoff
geoff
6 months ago

The biggest obstacle to closer Irish/UK co-operation in Air defence in and around the Islands of Britain and Ireland, is lingering hostility towards the UK particularly over NI. I make no judgement either way on this but it would make perfect sense for the two nations to formalise a closer Defence pact with strict rules as to what it covered and how it operated. For example an enhanced presence based in Dublin with some Irish pilots trained to fly fast jets in a small Flight leased from the UK complete with Irish roundels. Ireland should pay toward this-it would make… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Not really no, the Agreement that was signed back in the early ’10’s covers plenty and allows for a lot of interactions. The issue is pretty much anything more means spending money… The Irish DOD exists to prevent that. I mean hell just your suggestion of some sort of FJ in Dublin, not going to happen, Balonnel simply can’t support it, Dublin is at capacity and the public would go batshit if you had QRA taking off in the Dublin suburbs. You’d have to kick the AC out to Shannon most likely with even more costs/issues. Again, London had little… Read more »

geoff
geoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Morning Mark. Thanks for your comment. I am sure the present arrangement,however curently structured, could be improved to the benefit of both parties. Look at Iceland and its Air Policing mission which utilises air assets from several nations including the UK tasked with the Air defence of that nation. Combat fighters are often based in Iceland.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Iceland is part of NATO, Ireland isn’t and that’s “unlikely” to change in anyone’s lifetime, so it’s two completely different examples.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

It’s a concern. Say an airline was taken over/ captured mid flight by terrorists and heading for Dublin. The RAF intercept and shoot it down. Leading to casualties on the ground in Ireland.
Would the UK then be susceptible to claims of compensation?
It all seems a bit messy and worrying to me as a UK taxpayer.
I’m going to write to my MP and ask for these over flights to cease immediately.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

One would assume that those that crafted the Agreement would have given a framework for that, if not bad show by Whitehall.
Feel free to write to your MP though, I imagine it won’t go anywhere though.

Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago

This is a very Interesting Discussion,here are my thoughts on the Options :- Option (1) Stay as you are at the Moment,it may not be Ideal but it Works for Both Parties.Option (2) Stay the Same but the ROI Pays a Modest Fee to the UK to Help with the Upkeep of Assets used ( on the presumption that such an arrangement doesn’t officially already exist ) Option (3) The ROI takes Full Responsibility for Policing its Airspace and Seas and accepts the Very High Cost that will Entail.Option (4) Could there be an Opportunity for an Organisation of Neutral/Non… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

If there was any willingness within the DOD and Finance (spoiler there isn’t), it wouldn’t be too extreme to work out something with the Swedes, given they already have lease agreements with other nations, but as I said even that would require a major capital investment long before you get to fighters being operational.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
6 months ago

Maybe we should come together as independent nations with a common interest! OK. I’m an idealist. I’m all in favour of a strong UK and great – close – relations with all of the “British Isles.” I love Ireland and the Irish people. Many of us are inter-bred over thousand of years so in that sense we are all one. Trouble is in C20 history there have been some really dubious Irish stances on fascism, terrorism, and generally doing their bit for the defence of these islands, and all under the banner of “neutrality.” Its like there is a bit… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Frankly not a chance, also I just love how the Anglo-Irish issues of the 20th century are due to Ireland, the UK utterly blameless…

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Hi Mark,

…but that is not what I said:

1) I’m an idealist so was just pondering an ideal solution.
2) I said “I’m not saying the UK has not done naughty things in the past.

My point is would it not be nice if we could all just be nice from now on. Idealistic, but there you go.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Ah well, short of getting Dev to agree the Chamberlain offer in 1940 I don’t see it, and that assuming London had any intention of honouring that.

There’s plenty of interactions on the security level between Dublin and London, but anything more is unlikely.

geoff
geoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

No one including myself as a NI Unionist has ever said the UK is utterly blameless. That notion is in your head Mark. I have a strong sense of Irishness in my blood and a warm affection for the ROI. It just seems to me though that some of yous have a much bigger chip on your shoulders than you imagine we have!

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Have you noticed the language from Cabinet members down to members of the general public over the last 4 years due to Ireland holding a different position than the UK?

geoff
geoff
6 months ago

Mark below gives his answer which is probably true

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
6 months ago

Not a British problem. The political and economic issues are insoluble. I once heard Danish pacifist politician describe his party’s defence strategy: A tape recording of ‘We surrender’ in Russian on a loop. I am sure the Republic could afford that.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Funny. Putin would ove that. Expect their rusty old carrier and a few other ships with tugs in company to arrive off the Irish coast any day now. Seems like ROI is ripe for the picking.
Although I think Irish Joe would have something to say about that. Chortle . Love it.

Patrick
Patrick
6 months ago

Went to school with Eoin, good to see him getting published.

The Irish people have zero interest in defence. If any Irish Government started a process to purchase F16s or equivalent for air defence it would be political suicide.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Patrick

True enough, though that’s in no small part due to decades of Irish Governments telling everyone that somehow “neutrality” solves everything simply to avoid investing anything in defence.

how many development plans have each of the services put forward that have never seen the light of day, let alone reasonable political debate?

Meirion X
Meirion X
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Just the same as burry your head in the sand!

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Why do it yourself when you can leach off your bigger neighbourb for free?

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Nobody forced the UK to agree to do it though.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Mate, sometimes, you just have to do the right thing…..

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Not really, it suits the UK to do it, that’s about it.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

In that case I propose it no longer suits the UK to do it. So it stops. Then what happens?
Your not part of NATO so you would go cap in hand to Irish Joe or your paymasters in the EU to defend your airspace, whilst you invest your tax payers money in other areas. Would be nice to have that “sponging off others” option.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

what do you think the state has done before?

David McGuire
David McGuire
6 months ago

Perhaps the way forward lies in a joint Squadron as the UK and Qatar now share.
QRF is appallingly intensive to operate but an Irish element integrated into the Typhoon force woud be a way foward.All these things are complex and expensive though,

BB85
BB85
6 months ago

Its an interesting question in terms of what would happen if the UK didn’t provide QRA over Irish Air Space. Would Russian bombers be brazen enough to fly over the centre of Ireland knowing there was no one to intercept them, or would they still stick to the airspace they are legally entitled to be in. I think there has been articles stating Russian Bears have flown over County Kerry in the past which is cheeky. I have a feeling if a Russian bomber did cross into Irish Air Space the RAF wouldn’t do a thing unless it clearly posed… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Most likely nothing other than diplomatic complaints, as I’ve said it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than nuisance flights from Russia to convince anyone of the need to take the political hit for spending more on defence.

And off the top of my head Russian Bears have never crossed over Ireland directly, you could be thinking of them passing off the coast of Kerry (besides it’s Kerry nothing of great value would be lost if it got bombed).

Meirion X
Meirion X
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

I would that to add Mark! If the Irish public where told if they weren’t prepared to spend more money on defence including Cyber security, they face the prospect of Hi tech companies leaving for safer places, including losing high paid jobs, would they accept the inevitable?

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

No, but that again hinges on having politicians that want to have grown up debates/discussions on defence matters. I can assure after seeing some of what passes for debate on it in Ireland anything of actual value would get drowned out by BS fairly fecking quickly.

Meirion X
Meirion X
6 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The US would most likely order those US companies out of Ireland, Or they face sanctions.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Why would they do that over overflights off the West Coast?

Meirion X
Meirion X
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, my reply was really angled at, if the U.S. companies based in Ireland get hit badly, with cyber attacks and IP thrift etc. I do think U.S. Gov would recommend those companies put out, if Irish government goes not step up protection, or join NATO which would allow the U.S. to base elements of it’s Cyber Forces in Ireland.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

In terms of Cyber, like many politicians I’m fully sure if something like that happened, the Daíl would be falling over themselves to increase cyber spending (and finding someone else to blame).

Ironically Dev did seek to try and get some sort of bilateral arrangement with the US post WW2, however the US wasn’t interested.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
6 months ago

So is this something that’s been brewing for a while now but has been accelerated by Brexit? Would it still be an issue if the RAF was bigger or would that make it even more problematic? Or is it just ministers playing fantasy fleet as it were. It’s a bit of a shame there can’t be some level of co-operation between the ROI and the UK, even if NATO or the EU need to play a part too just so Ireland doesn’t feel like it’s being forced into the minor player role. I presume there’s a better chance of Hell… Read more »

geoff
geoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Good Morning Ryan. The F5 would be more than up to the task

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Would it? Did a bit of googling, can’t find specs on the latest variants or operators of but would there be any left in good nick, reasonably modernised and without too many flight hours? And would their owners be happy to part with the aircraft? Sure, the airframe could probably be overhauled to zero or near zero, stuff could be installed if necessary, but that’s all cost. And as Mark has pointed out in other comments, there doesn’t seem to be the will.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Besides which buying such an old airframe even if zero’d would also create issues for an Irish Government.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

How so specifically for the Govt? Accusations of doing things on the cheap?

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Yep, I mean it wouldn’t matter how capable a Zero’d airframe with upgrades are, they would be attacked from at least the Left for spending on “dated” aircraft, it would look half arsed at best.

Particularly as you’ve got all the other sunk costs that would need to go into standing up such capability, if we were doing that it’s had to think that something like the Gripen Lease Deals could be beaten.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

It’s complicated, elements of the AC and its supporters have always had issue with the Agreement as they weren’t even involved in the Talks. At the same time the Government is being dragged kicking and screaming into holding a Commission on the future of the Forces so there’s a lot of people trying to set out stalls before that. There’s no chance of a joint squadron, just too much headaches across the board for Dublin. As to weapons, only the PC9’s have anything, .50 cal pods and 70mm rocket pods. The 295’s as ordered are from memory closer to the… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

So everyone is just talking to their own ends or however the expression goes. Sounds an utter mess.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

It’s kind of like the shadow comments/articles that come out before each of the Defence Reviews in the UK, interested parties trying to set out their stalls.

RocketBanana
RocketBanana
6 months ago

Even the tiniest (effective) air force is bloody expensive to start up from scratch.

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier
6 months ago

Maybe an opportunity to sell Hawk 200 and cooperate on using UK training infrastructure?

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Not really, given the range and angle, the general view is that Hawks even based at Shannon would be limited in their capabilities.

Spencer
Spencer
6 months ago

I think a joint squadron sort of job, similar to the UK-Qatar joint Typhoon Squadron (provided they chose to purchase Typhoon), could be a good choice for Ireland to develop a fast jet capability for intercept roles. Although, if this sort of thing goes ahead, perhaps we obviously won’t know what they’ll procure. Perhaps they will go With Gripen, perhaps a US airframe, Typhoon. Either way I think it would be the right path to go down for Ireland to start taking these matters into their own hands finally.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Spencer

If Austria is handing back the Tranche 1’s they have, how exactly do you think we’d be able to sustain Typhoon’s? As to a “joint squadron” as I’ve said, too much political and public issues for having a standing UK force in the Republic.

If there’s any aircraft purchase, most likely either Gripen or F16’s, well unless the French are willing to do a hell of a deal like they are doing for the Greeks.

Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Agree – out of the Many Options Available the Typhoon would Prove Too Expensive to Operate,Running and Maintenance Costs would be Key to any Unlikely Purchase.

Spencer
Spencer
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I was thinking the same tbh. I’m not that up on my knowledge of how much different fighters cost, but I was aware Typhoon is certainly not the cheapest. Gripen seems to be a good bet for a cheaper platform to me, just from what I’ve seen, but again I’m certainly no expert.

Ed Baines
6 months ago

It is very much in our interest that Irish air and sea space are protected and in my view it would be sensible a) to ask UK to continue certain tasks (eg anti submarine patrols) b) to buy some Typhoons to warn off Russian aircraft if the Irish are worried about our bona fides. Our bona fides could be taken for granted, given the importance to the UK itself of keeping Ivan at (very long) arm’s length.