Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has warned that British flights could be banned from Irish airspace with a hard border as a result of Brexit, despite Ireland relying on the Royal Air Force for high-end air policing.
Taoiseach warns hard Brexit grounds international flights from UK:
“If they want their planes to fly over our skies, they would need to take that into account. You can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t take back your waters and then expect to take back other people’s sky.” pic.twitter.com/9wS6sREAlL
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) July 18, 2018
We understand that a hard Brexit deal would see the re-establishment of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and drastically alter movement, travel and business between the two.
Taoiseach @campaignforleo says he won’t let UK planes fly over Ireland in the event of a “hard Brexit”.
— Hugh Bennett (@HughRBennett) July 18, 2018
According to local media in Ireland, after the British parliament narrowly passed an amendment to the customs bill that would make it illegal to create any kind of border in the Irish Sea that would leave Northern Ireland as part of a separate territory to the EU, the Irish government is reportedly putting together a plan for a no-deal Brexit, ‘suggesting that the Irish Sea may not be the only point at which the UK may be forced to rethink their future relationship with Ireland’ say Irish Central here.
ICYMI Taoiseach warns that UK planes could be restricted from flying in EU airspace in the event of a no deal Brexit. Mr Varadkar said UK could not take back its waters and expect to use EU skies. “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” he said.https://t.co/QQjHhrvV0J
— RTÉ (@rte) July 19, 2018
This comes despite an agreement we reported on last year in which British combat aircraft will ‘shoot down aircraft over Ireland if they are hijacked by terrorists’, according to local media.
According to the Irish Examiner, “five well-placed sources in Ireland and one in Britain have pointed to the agreement being in place, with a number saying the Defence Forces was not involved in negotiating it, despite the RAF asking for its inclusion.”
Ireland lacks aircraft that can climb high enough or go fast enough to intercept Russian aircraft which came close to Irish airspace on a couple of occasions in 2015, being driven away by British jets.
It is understood that Civil servants from the Irish Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) entered into a bilateral agreement with British counterparts: the RAF, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Defence, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The agreement reportedly permits the British military to conduct armed operations over Ireland in the event of a terrorist-attack, real or suspected.
Ireland operates ‘The Air Corps’ who fly a fleet of fixed and rotary wing aircraft (but no jet aircraft), it provides military support to the Irish Army and Naval Service. Their only combat capable aircraft is the Pilatus PC-9M which can be armed with a heavy machine gun or rocket pods. Their primary airbase is Casement Aerodrome located at Baldonnel, County Dublin.