Saturday 3 December 2016

We can't allow defence budget to vanish into thin air

Published 08/09/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney
Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney

As soon as he sold the national airline, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe launched a hefty national aviation policy. The first of its kind. Essentially, it pledged that Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports shall remain in national ownership. Nothing new there then. Over the weekend, a 25-year plan was mooted by Dublin Airport Authority to develop a 70-acre site into a new 'Airport City', though no planning permission or funding is yet in place.

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Hot on the heels of the national aviation policy, Defence Minister Simon Coveney launched a White Paper recommending an increase in public service jobs in the armed forces.

At a time when garda stations are being closed around the country and local communities are increasingly vulnerable to crime, it seems rather bizarre to bolster a relatively irrelevant defence force. Up to now, Mr Coveney could do no wrong - what with Ireland's agri-business in a global spotlight and our 'Navy' deployed to save refugees from warzones.

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