Wednesday 7 December 2016

Neutrality really is no reason to take short cuts on defence spending

Eoghan O Neachtáin

Published 27/08/2015 | 02:30

Minister Simon Coveney with, from left, Army Corporal Sheila Scorr, Air Corps Corporal Joanne Woods and CPO Paul Nolan of the Naval Service at Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister Simon Coveney with, from left, Army Corporal Sheila Scorr, Air Corps Corporal Joanne Woods and CPO Paul Nolan of the Naval Service at Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

The White Paper on Defence is being published at a time when our Defence Forces are rightly basking in the sunshine of some very positive publicity.

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The recent migrant crisis focused attention on their capabilities. Whether under the direction of the United Nations, supporting Irish NGOs or, as in the recent Mediterranean operation, combining with and supporting our EU counterparts, the Irish Defence Forces can be relied upon to get the job done with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of efficiency.

It is regrettable that many people's only knowledge of the work of our Defence Forces is measured in purely ceremonial terms, owing to the fact that Ireland is a country which has traditionally observed military neutrality.

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