The UK, on occasion, scrambles jets to intercept unresponsive aircraft in Irish-controlled airspace but make no mistake, the UK is not protecting Irish airspace.

Many believe that the UK is protecting Irish airspace or that British jets patrol Irish skies. That’s not true, the UK is not responsible for Irish air defence. In short and simple terms, the UK is protecting its own airspace and Ireland benefits from that.

Of course it’s not actually that simple, so let’s get into it.

What’s going on?

In addition to British jets intercepting aircraft off the coast of Ireland, there exists an often mentioned and reported ‘agreement‘ that allows British aircraft to transit Irish airspace for specific reasons but we’ll examine that agreement later in the article.


This article is a fact-checking article, if you believe we’ve made an error you can submit a correction in line with our correction policy.


First, let’s take a look at the air policing side of things with regards to the Flight Information Region Ireland is responsible for.

What’s the situation?

Basically, the Royal Air Force launches Typhoon fighter jets to intercept unidentified aircraft in the Irish ‘Flight Information Region’ for air policing duties because Ireland is incapable of doing so itself.

Make no mistake, the UK is not selflessly defending Irish airspace as this agreement is mutually beneficial to both states. Due to the speed of modern aircraft, the UK needs to be able to intercept aircraft even as far southwest as Ireland. Additionally, the controversial agreement also reportedly allows British aircraft to transit sovereign Irish airspace (different from the Flight Information Region mentioned above) should that be required.

What’s the difference? Sovereign airspace (shown below) extends 12 miles from the coastline and is part of Irish territory however Flight Information Regions (shown above) are designed to ensure the safety of civil aviation and have provision for air traffic control services provided by a nation nearby.

What’s the issue? Russia isn’t going to bomb Ireland, the issue is much simpler. Russian military aviation often flies through these Flight Information Regions without filing a flight plan or talking to air traffic control.

This turns them into stealth aircraft for a country with no ‘primary radar’ able to see them. This is dangerous due to the presence of airliners. When a fighter intercepts Russian aircraft it shows where the unresponsive aircraft is and allows for civilian traffic to be moved. The below image shows a normal day for air traffic in the region, it is incredibly busy.

Ireland operates ‘The Air Corps’, the service provides military support to the Irish Army and Naval Service but lacks any jet combat aircraft capable of intercepting Russian aircraft, as such British jets undertake the role.

This leads to the mistaken belief that Britain is responsible for Irish air defence, it is not. People on both sides of the Irish Sea however are aware that Ireland benefits significantly from this arrangement as it helps ensure the safety of Irish-controlled airspace.

There are discussions ongoing in Ireland to examine options to remedy this, including the purchase of fighter jets as my terrible mockup illustrates, but what will happen remains to be seen.

As I said above, the UK isn’t protecting Irish airspace, intercepting aircraft in the Flight Information Region as far away from the UK as possible benefits the UK but it’s not lost on people on both sides of the Irish Sea that Ireland benefits.

Many are likely to ask why Russia would aim to provoke Ireland? According to Dr Edward Burke, the director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham:

“The principal reason is that, from a Russian perspective, Ireland is a significant piece on the geopolitical chessboard. Situated between two of Russia’s principal adversaries, the United States and the UK, Ireland lacks the air defence capabilities to deter or defend against such provocative sorties into its airspace.

The Russian air force knows that it can approach or even enter Irish airspace with far less immediate and serious consequences than if it did the same to other north Atlantic countries such as Iceland where there is a Nato air policing mission – or Norway, which has a well-resourced air force capable of quickly intercepting suspected incursions.”

Why is this done?

All airspace around the world is divided into Flight Information Regions (FIRs). Each FIR is managed by a controlling authority (in this case the UK) that has responsibility for ensuring that air traffic services are provided to the aircraft flying within it.

Why? Andy Netherwood explains the reasons why here, but in summary:

“The first is flight safety. Whilst sovereign airspace only extends 12 miles from the coastline, countries are responsible for ensuring the safety of civil aviation, including the provision of ATC services, within areas known as Flight Information Regions or FIRs. These extend well beyond the 12-mile limit. Russian long range aviation often transits the London and Scottish FIRs without filing a flight plan, talking to ATC or ‘squawking’ (operating their transponders). 

This makes them effectively invisible to civilian ATC and is very dangerous as airliners are also flying through this airspace.  By shadowing Russian aircraft, the intercepting aircraft can show ATC where they are, allowing controllers to move airliners safely out of the way.

The second reason is because of the speed at which aircraft travel.  An aircraft flying at 600 knots will travel 12 miles in little over a minute.  Waiting until an unknown or hostile aircraft has entered sovereign airspace before intercepting is too late.

It leaves insufficient time to safely carry out the intercept, visually identify the aircraft, provide all the required information back to decision-makers, and carry out any necessary action. Russian aircraft will normally be intercepted by the Norwegian Air Force and then handed over to RAF aircraft ensuring they are continually shadowed.”

This isn’t as straightforward as it seems however, an often mentioned but secretive agreement also exists that allows UK combat aircraft to fly over the Republic of Ireland.

Senator Gerard Craughwell told the Seanad that allowing Royal Air Force fighter jets access to Irish airspace interferes with Ireland’s sovereignty.

“The Constitution is the most sacred document in the country. It drives everything we do and should control everything that takes place in this House. I refer to Article 15.6 on the right to raise and maintain military forces, which right rests exclusively with the Oireachtas. Imagine my shock at the weekend when I discovered that an agreement had been signed between this country and the United Kingdom granting permission to the United Kingdom to scramble fighter jets in Irish airspace.

The agreement was signed by the Department of Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Irish Aviation Authority, which is not even a body responsible to the Oireachtas but a semi-State body. The agreement was signed before either this or the last Government came to power. I can find no evidence anywhere of Oireachtas oversight of the agreement or of a ministerial signature on it.

It creates a merger or a partnership in respect of our sovereignty. We talk about our sovereignty all the time, yet we are allowing jets of the Royal Air Force, RAF, to fly over the country. The director of Irish military aviation and the general officer commanding, GOC, of the Air Corps has no knowledge whatsoever of the agreement. It is my understanding that when he learned of it, he was taken into a room, shown the agreement and promptly sent home without a copy of it. The person with responsibility for military aviation in this country was not a party to the agreement.”

In simple terms, what is this agreement for?

It is understood that the agreement allows British combat aircraft to transit sovereign Irish airspace for air counter-terrorism duties which includes responding to things like unresponsive airliners, hijackings etc.

I spoke to one Royal Air Force pilot that explained the diplomatic concerns behind any such agreement

“When the RAF launches against aircraft in the Irish Flight Information Region it’s doing so for NATO air policing/UK air counter-terrorism duties, although Ireland benefits as it makes their Flight Information Region safer. The key difference though is that if the RAF failed to intercept unknown traffic in UK airspace Chief of the Air Staff would have to explain why not. He is under no compulsion to launch against unknown aircraft in Irish airspace. Doing air policing for another nation is a minefield.

E.g. imagine the RAF intercepts a hijacked Aer Lingus airliner heading for Dublin. Who makes the decision to shoot it down? The UK PM? The Taoiseach? This can’t be done on the day, there needs to be rules of engagement agreed in advance, secure communications between the decision-maker and the operations centre at High Wycombe, and the decision-maker needs to be trained so they understand the constraints & impact of what they are being asked to decide.”

Is this agreement likely to change?

According to Dr Burke, Ireland (at least in the short term) will continue to rely upon the RAF to deter and monitor Russian or other aircraft that enter Irish airspace without permission.

“In the short term, Ireland will continue to rely upon the RAF to deter and monitor Russian or other aircraft that enter Irish airspace without permission”, he said.

“In the medium to long term it is difficult to countenance the State developing the expensive air defence and training systems to police Irish airspace alone. Ireland’s natural security partner in terms of geography is of course the UK. Is it possible that historical and political sensitivities might be overcome to bring about an RAF-Irish Air Corps all-island joint air policing mission in the future? For now, as the Russian Air Force could tell you, there is very little prospect of anything of the kind.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jason
Jason
1 month ago

It is still wrong .

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason

Not really, it is in our interests to be able to transit Irish airspace.
A well explained article, but as usual those who wish to further the politics and the squabbles concentrate on that.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason

Wrong to help Ireland with their defence capability? How? That is what allies and neighbours do, if asked.

Richard B
Richard B
1 month ago

“The UK, on occasion, scrambles jets to intercept unresponsive aircraft in Irish-controlled airspace but make no mistake, the UK is not protecting Irish airspace.”

I think we are trying to split hairs here to save the ROI blushes.
If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck then it’s a duck.
The presence of RAF jets in Irish airspace means they ARE protecting it. If for whatever reason the planes were attacked they would respond in kind. Defending themselves and the associated airspace.

nonsense
nonsense
1 month ago

It is one of countless British spending on military activities that no one appreciates.

Some people agree that these activities of the British Army are overly distorted, but in reality, the contribution of these excessive activities to the interests of Britain is minimal.

Unless Ireland excessively forgets the ghost of Cromwell 300 years ago, the relationship between Ireland and Britain, where Britain loses unilaterally, must be fixed

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  nonsense

The British “Army” ?

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago

😅

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago
Reply to  nonsense

No one appreciates? No one at all? Speak for yourself.

nonsense
nonsense
1 month ago

Ireland is a new economically wealthy country with an economic growth rate several times that of Britain.

Ireland’s economy is strong enough to create a new RAF-sized air force.

This case, as always, is an incurable disease of some people who carelessly use the taxpayers’ money to do good for other countries and claim that it is Britain’s interest.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  nonsense

Irish gdp per capita is much higher than the UK’s, but taken as a whole the Irish economy is only about 1/6 the size of the UK economy. It would be very difficult, against the background of a broadly social-democratic country, to sustain an air force of the same size as the RAF off such an economic base. But the Irish economy is not much smaller than that of Norway, so should much more easily be able to sustain an air force of similar size to Norway’s, with capable modern jet fighters. That it does not is purely a matter… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Yes they do not need many high end planes – a single unt of 16 – 24 would do the trick, plus a decent radar. Perhaps we could sell them 5 crowsnest AEW sets.

They have nit built an airforce because they are content to save money buy letting the u.k. sub them out.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

16 second hand F16C would do it at fairly cheap purchase cost. They could probably do a deal with the USA for training and support at a fairly low cost. Because of historic baggage, I can’t see them doing anything jointly with the UK…..

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Biden thinks he is Irish so he will give them a special price….

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Clinton from memory tried offering those F16s that were embargoed from Pakistan back in the 90s (the same ones that were offered to NZ) but nothing happened for pretty much the same reasons.

Even if they were given free the AC is in no shape to use them.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  David

LM have already been over in the last month trying to sell everything from FA 50s, to second hand European F16s to new build F16s…

Its not happening anytime soon.

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Even a squadron of 12 would require ca. 1000 personnel, say 1/2 billion USD annually.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  David Flandry

One of the former AC generals put it about a billion euros annually for 18 to provide for the tasking. Given the AC isn’t likely to get more than a couple of hundred extra in the establishment and that’s likely to go for other airframes it’s not happening anytime soon.

Simon
Simon
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Im pleased for Ireland to have a buoyant economy but not comparable with Norway which has a massive oil based sovereignty fund, they make surplus each year most likely.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon

The point is that the Irish economy is a bit smaller than Norway’s and a bit bigger than Denmark’s. Both those countries have modern fighters (24 F35 in the case of Norway, 33 F16 and 4 F35 in the case of Denmark. Ireland could afford similar.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  David

The issue of course being both of those nations have been operating fighters all along. The AC is circa 1k people, to build out to operating fighters even if there was political will (and there isn’t) would take more than a decade, and there’s far more immediate areas to invest in.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Well yes, Ireland is a democracy and like it or not defence spending doesn’t win votes, and even beyond that the internal politics of the DF have their own issues as well. How the DF got to where it is has many different actors and forces, fixing the problems is far more than just buying some fighters.

nonsense
nonsense
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Why is the UK making a losing “choice”?

In Ireland, fishermen deter Russian naval action. Does UK need a navy because its fishermen are not as brave as Ireland?

In Tom and Jerry, Jerry is said to be German and Tom is compared to UK.

In my opinion, it’s not a metaphor, it’s a fact.

UK behaves like Tom.

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Ireland most certainly can sustain a larger air force. Ireland’s defence budget, at less than 0.3% of GDP, is the lowest in the EU

Longtime
Longtime
1 month ago

Said it before and I’ll say it again, the fastest and most cost effective way for the Irish Air Corp to have gain a jet intercept capability is to request a joint squadron with either the RAF or USAF on UK soil using Typhoons or F15/16s respectively.
Obviously preferable for the UK would be with the RAF and in my opinion legitimises the current arrangement. It also gives an opportunity for both nations to improve relations and cooperation across the board.

Last edited 1 month ago by Longtime
Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Longtime

For a host of reasons it’s not going to happen.

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

You say it every time Mark but at the end of the day, The AC must need to have the ability to intercept in Shannon FIR to maintain safe navigation for all other aircraft under international law (ICAO, Annex2,Attachment A&B) most nations who don’t/can’t join an alliance ie NATO. If the RAF pulled out of the deal tomorrow how does the AC achieve this and I doubt “we don’t want too” will cut it to the UN/ICAO. It also means if ICAO used its powers to sanction, that no aircraft or pilot registered in Ireland would be able to fly… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

The AC has never had such capability and so far no such sanctions have happened, and there was no such agreement with the U.K. until post 9/11. How do other nations with no fighter jet capabilities or foreign air forces handle such matters? For example the Caribbean nations with their busy airspace? Politics is politics whether we like it or not. There isn’t going to be “Joint squadrons” based in Ireland (for both domestic issues and foreign issues), nor at present is there political will for a fully Irish capability. Like I said in the post to George while we… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

A question for you, New Zealand has no interception capability and hasn’t for what two decades? How have they not been sanctioned like you suggest?

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

There wasn’t a written agreement but it was still happening in the 90s just unofficially and case by case request. They have an agreement with RAAF to intercept for them and I may be wrong now but they used to base a 4flight in NZ, they also have an incredibly active officer exchange with the RAAF, so they actually have a few fast jet qualified pilots which makes it considerably easier if they suddenly require the capability. The Caribbean is mainly covered for intercept by the US Southern command 12airforce, Columbia’s and Brazilian Air Force and bolstered occasionally by Peruvian… Read more »

Michael Doughty
Michael Doughty
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

I would also argue that NZ’s operational environment is vastly different from Ireland’s. NZ is about 2,500 Km from its nearest neighbour. Australia who is NZ’s only ally, and the United States, are the only nations in that region of the pacific that maintain strike aircraft capable of reaching NZ. At the time of the scrapping of the Combat Air wing it really came down to do does NZ need to maintain a Combat Air wing that has not deployed since WWII, or a long range maritime Surveillance capability that deploys on task nearly every day. I would love it… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

Just think 12 Hawk’s will do the trick

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Would have thought so? or would they need something a bit faster to get out there quick? If its just for shadowing I suppose they will have a hand off, so know the bogey is coming. it beggars belief that they have no military grade radar to look at their own airspace.
I believe there has been discussion in past over this very topic.
AA

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Primary Radar has been on the wishlist for decades (along with plenty of other things) but has never got the backing for procurement, current noises suggest that at least will change over the next few years.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The general view is anything in the Hawk class doesn’t have the legs and speed to respond to any West Coast issues, though Leonardo floated their M346 alongside LMs suggestion.

Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago

Sell them the T-1 Typhoons?

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

And what, watch them rot in Baldonnel? The list of things that are needed before any fighters are bought is huge.

Andrew Munn
Andrew Munn
1 month ago

In a similar kind of way Cnanda benefits from it’s proximity to the USA in defence matters. Some theorize that this saves Canada billions in defence spending.

DJ
DJ
22 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Munn

Andrew

While I agree, Canada doesn’t pull its weight to the extend it should, it does actually have a functional navy, air force & army. They do have fighters, frigates, submarines, tanks etc with replacement fighters & frigates somewhat on order. Their procurement system is a nightmare (only bettered by India). NZ does have a couple of operational frigates & with P8 MPA’s on order (replacing PC3 aircraft). Neither are where they should be. Ireland though, is not even in the picture.

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago

Said it before and I’ll say it again, the fastest and most cost effective way for the Irish Air Corp to have gain a jet intercept capability is to request a joint squadron with either the RAF or USAF on UK soil using Typhoons or F15/16s respectively.
Obviously preferable for the UK would be with the RAF and in my opinion legitimises the current arrangement. It also gives an opportunity for both nations to improve relations and cooperation across the board.

Tufton Bufton
Tufton Bufton
1 month ago

The Irish have a lot of work to in terms of getting real. Despite being protected by NATO, they piously maintain their neutrality. Even if they bought themselves an air force, its effectiveness would be limited if it lay outside the NATO command structure. The first step for the Irish Republic would seem to be following the lead of Sweden and Finland and applying to join NATO. As it is, their claims to remaining neutral are start to look, shall we say, quaint.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tufton Bufton

Not happening.

DJ
DJ
22 days ago
Reply to  Mark

If UK re-invaded, what would the EU actually do?

Likely argue for a couple of years. Then hold an inquiry. Then bluster for another couple of years. Then forget they ever existed. UK don’t want them. EU don’t want them. They are just stuck with them.

Mark
Mark
22 days ago
Reply to  DJ

As we see with Russia, if a nuclear armed nation decides to invade a neighbour stopping them is tricky, not sure what the rest of your little rant.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

It is about time Irish Republic got its own air force and did its own airspace security. I think we have some early Typhoons we are taking out of service can we sell 8 or so to them. They could pay us for maintenance services if they cannot do that.

They should also buy a radar capable of detecting hostile air threats.

It is about time they took their responsibilities seriously and spend some money. In effect the UK is subsidising the Irish for their security.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

At the minimum an “air defence” radar of some sort is required.
What would happen if the uk did not intercept a transponderless Russian jet, and a civil aircraft hit it in Irish airspace…whose fault would that be?
AA

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

The Russian jet – it would not be conforming to ATC regulations and would have entered sovereign airspace without permission. I suspect the UK has permission from the Irish to do what we are doing but I doubt we are compelled to do so we would not be to blame.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

If Austria that spends much more than Ireland have been considering selling their T1s what makes you think Ireland would want to go that route even if there was funding available? It’s interesting that so far it’s only been LM, Leonardo and Saab that have made any comments/outreach.

Primary Radar as I’ve said has been something on the Wishlist for years, and the most likely purchase, but it’s likely the transport capabilities of the AC will get attention in the next few years.

Simon
Simon
1 month ago

A Russian jet flies down to Spain , therefore Norway, UK , France and Spain share the shadowing responsibilities. It is quite a task.
Fast jets for Ireland has been discussed previously, it’s not cheap to maintain. Should Ireland not at least have a better radar picture?

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon

Better radar has been on the wishlist for some time, and is one of the likely changes that will happen, fighters not so likely.

Roger Andout
Roger Andout
1 month ago

Lest commentators are mis-informed, it is not for the want of (Ireland’s)Defence Forces chiefs signalling the poor state of Irish defence capabilities. (.28% of GDP spent on defence, currently). Rather it is solely the unwillingness of our politicians to allocate the funds to finance an even barely adequate force, (I hesitate to use the the word ‘deterrence’, as this would be unsustainable.)
Those of us concerned, anxiously await the political decisions around the findings of the latest Commission into the Defence Forces.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Roger Andout

It is also in no small part due to the unwillingness of the Irish public to support increased defence spending, just wait for the usual “but what about x issue” if the defence budget gets any significant increases.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago

New Zealand has a similar arrangement with Australia. The RNZAF also has no fast jets and in an emergency rely on the RAAF but of course the distances are far greater and the two countries have a very close relationship. I am surprised that the ROI has a much higher per capita GDP than the UK and wonder what factors are involved here? Could this be a function of their small population or on the other hand the UK’s burgeoning population? It might indicate that the UK has a larger number of unproductive or under-productive persons in the total? Remember… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by geoff
PragmaticScot
PragmaticScot
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

It looks very good on paper due to all the foreign businesses based in Ireland, the issue being is they add to the economic output but don’t pay much in the way of taxes so it’s a bit misleading, so much so other metrics are usually used. None of that should detract from their ability to spend more on defence, they should easily be able to spend 4 times what they do at the moment.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

There’s more than a few issues, as said Irish GDP figures are distorted by a number of factors, some a result of Irish policies, some more international procedures. That’s why the Irish central bank started using a different measure “modified GNI” from memory that strips out some of the GDP distortion. Again from memory strip out somewhere about 50billion off the GDP.

That said, yes the U.K. has had an issue with competitiveness and productivity in the labour market for decades when compared to other G7/G20 nations.

magwitch
magwitch
1 month ago

That photoshop of the F-16 is ridiculous. The Republic has not been called “Eire” since 1946.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  magwitch

Technically it’s never been called Eire as that’s the wrong Irish word, but more broadly the U.K. didn’t use Ireland or the Republic till the GFA in official correspondence as a policy.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

There’s nothing really new since the last time George posted pretty much the same article 2 or 3 years ago so I’m not sure what the point is?

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  George Allison

Forgive my imprecise post, yes of course you have updated the article, but the issue is effectively the same as before is it not? The capability gaps of the AC, the agreement with the U.K. and the nebulous nature of it is the same. Until we see what the cabinet will sign off on (and between the Greens and the politics of the Cost of Living that’s an issue), nothing will really change even with the Commissions recommendations. Broadly speaking there’s a rough idea floating around of what might get approval, and fighters aren’t on that list but no idea… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

If people over specify, it ( Irish Air Defences) will never happen. A decent radar plus half a dozen M346/FA-50 would be better than nothing & put the Russians on notice that they might be intercepted. Sure it would not stop squadrons of hostile jets, but most of the time, its just one or two stray aircraft to worry about.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The general view from the AC towards such a solution has generally been a lot of extra costs to a limited budget but without really being able to preform the mission of interception off the West Coast. Light fighters or armed trainers have been demoed before at Baldonnel with nothing happening. Primary Radar is most likely going to happen but fighters or armed trainers aren’t likely anything close to being on the list of capital acquisitions . In theory we should known a bit more by the end of the month, likely to slip if the Greens have their way.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

The Irish need to get off zero. A small start, can be built upon later, if need be.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Like I said Primary Radar looks like it will get the nod, after that other priorities. For the AC some more helicopters and some degree of theatre transport capabilities to support international missions/evacuations. Fighters (light or otherwise) aren’t very likely to be on the list.

Mickey
Mickey
23 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Primary radar is a must. Baby steps for the Irish Defence force though is the way to go. They need to sort out recruitment, pay and retention.

Heavy hardware , in all forms, comes next.

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago

Yes.Yes.Yes’

Stc
Stc
1 month ago

A lot of simplict comments. With modern fighters you cannot just buy 16 jets and a radar problem solved. Look how the UK needed US help on the carriers after not having one for 10 years.Ireland would need the infrastructure, the training , the engineers etc etc. Secondhand and some newer ones need upto 50 hours maintenance to fly one hour. Building anything up from zero is very expensive. Yes it is in the UK’s interest, but no doubt the UK defends Ireland’s airspace tough if that offends Irish pride. I think there are some Irish who would prefer Russia… Read more »

Dprendo
Dprendo
1 month ago

Ireland should police their own skies and seas. they have the means, all they need is a few squadrons of gripen and some t31s. would take a long time to build up, but it’s fiscally doable.

Mark
Mark
22 days ago

Some suggestion in the press that the primary radar system will have a capital budget of circa €200 million, no details on when any RFI might happen.

DENNIS ANDERSON
DENNIS ANDERSON
15 days ago

Easily solved if the ROI was in NATO, but they are not and have no intentions of spending 2%+ of their GDP on defence to be a member.
Says a lot about them really

Last edited 15 days ago by DENNIS ANDERSON
Rob
Rob
7 days ago

Why would we want to join NATO, that wouldn’t our problems? Russia is the only nation with the means to risk trying to take an airfield or port to strike at NATO forces if things kicked off. NATO isn’t stupid, they’d watch out for this too and stop it in it’s tracks long before it reached our shores. Not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because it simplifies their own mission. And even if Russia does land troops? They can can, at best, put one or two infantry battalions ashore with limited logistical support. The Irish army can… Read more »

PGS
PGS
7 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Basically you are saying you want NATO to defend you but you don’t want to pay for it.

Rob
Rob
6 days ago
Reply to  PGS

Not even close. NATO can’t afford Russian forces operating from our shores in the event of a wider conflict, it’d be a direct threat to NATO forces in the north Atlantic. But relying on their intervening as part of our defense policy would be the height of arrogance, not to mention foolishness on our part. Our goal should be deterrence, NOT matching fighting capabilities that are frankly, beyond our means.

Mark
Mark
4 days ago

Every nation has its right to set foreign policy, NATO for many reasons isn’t on the cards for Ireland, nor given how many members don’t hit the 2% mark wouldn’t be a solution either.

Scott.
Scott.
9 days ago

Considering that Ireland is meant to be one of the richest countries in Europe now (if you believe their ‘leprechaun economics’, that is) they should be capable of doing this themselves. Except even Leo Varadkar admitted recently that they have been relying on the UK for their own national defence. Their budget is after all less that 1 billion euro. Won’t be capable of much with that.

Last edited 9 days ago by Scott.
Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Scott.

Not our “leprechaun economics” but how globally the figures are assessed, even with the modified GNI that can be used we are still more than capable of spending more on defence, however there is zero political gain from doing so.

Scott.
Scott.
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark

You ‘might’ be capable but you’d still rather someone else pays for it. As I said your <1 billion euro budget isn’t going very far. (also, you expect us to believe your GDP magically jumped 25% in one year? People wonder why it’s been labelled ‘leprechaun economics’) As for no political gain, what would you call the embarrassment of not being able to patrol your own borders properly? The Russians come knocking and the best you can muster is a ‘fleet’ (of soon to be disbanded) fishing vessels and angry exchanges in the Dáil. You won’t be contributing much to… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Scott.
Mark
Mark
3 days ago
Reply to  Scott.

In terms of that year for example it came about due to an external change in how leased aircraft were recorded as assets, moving from where they were leased to the country of their parent company, Ireland happens to have a large leasing sector which resulted in that jump, nothing to do with an internal action. And no it’s not any political gain, the Irish voter cares about domestic issues far more than international affairs. As to the mythical EU army… yawn. There will never be a single integrated “EU Army”, nor would it matter if if did as like… Read more »

Scott.
Scott.
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Nothing to do with Apple moving their IP to Ireland that year then for tax purposes. Which has little tax benefit but all the liabilities. I never said there will be a single integrated EU army. But you should really look up what the Irish government have said they are willing to join. Doesn’t matter if an unelected political union has an armed forces. Right. OK. Don’t look now but they already have one (Eurocorps) If you don’t believe they will expand why are they establishing a rapid reaction force with up to 5,000 of troops. If you don’t believe me… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Scott.
Peter
Peter
7 days ago

We are defacto protecting Irish airspace. Some in the Republic might huff and puff that this is so but given they are so weak air defence wise they should consider themselves fortunate that we in the UK see an advantage in doing so. However I hope at the very least that the said ‘agreement’ we have with them includes a financial contribution to the same and they pull their fingers out and purchase a proper air defence radar system.

Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Peter

The overwhelming majority couldn’t give a feck about it one way or the other, though there’s no suggestion of any financial transfers of any sort. A Primary Radar system is meant to be moving forward on the shopping list, but that’s a wait and see.

Scott.
Scott.
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark

The overwhelming majority couldn’t give a feck about it one way or the other… because they are kept like mushrooms and have no idea what is really going on.

Mark
Mark
3 days ago
Reply to  Scott.

There is any amount of information available for anyone who wants to learn about anything these days, if people don’t have even a basic level of understanding of sues it’s because they choose not to.

In the case of Irish public opinion on defence it’s because nobody outside the small defence group cares, that’s not going to change.

Scott.
Scott.
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Yes, they don’t care because they rely on the UK and think it’s their own government doing it.

Mark
Mark
3 days ago
Reply to  Scott.

Nope, everyone is well aware of the limitations of the DF, it’s not a political/public concern.

Scott.
Scott.
3 days ago
Reply to  Mark

So now they are suddenly limited in what they can do. Earlier you said they are more then capable.

David Flandry
David Flandry
33 minutes ago

Ireland does not and cannot defend its own airspace. That leaves the UK.