Military officers warn Ireland 'does not have resources to deal with ongoing terrorist threat'
Published 18/11/2015 | 17:28
Military officers have warned the Government that Ireland has not currently got the resources to deal with an ongoing terrorist threat.
They say the Defence Forces have the capacity to cope with a single terror strike.
But they are seriously concerned about the lack of "top end" equipment to ensure they confront threats on a continual basis.
Last night they told Defence Minister Simon Coveney that Friday night's atrocity in Paris had underlined that the threat was now close to our shores and we were vulnerable to attack.
The warning was issued by Comdt Earnan Naughton, general secretary of Raco, the representative association for officers in the Defence Forces.
It came as Mr Coveney and his senior advisers studied a range of options that could be adopted by Ireland in response to the French call for help at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.
The most likely option is to send more Irish peacekeeping troops to a mission in Mali, in western Africa. This would allow the French to withdraw some of their soldiers from there for deployment to meet commitments elsewhere.
Mr Coveney and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will also hold talks with their French counterparts on increased sharing of intelligence about the movements and locations of terrorists.
Comdt Naughton made his remarks on the military capacity at Raco's annual conference in Naas, Co Kildare.
The conference is due to be addressed later by Mr Coveney and Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett.
The conference also heard about a "brain drain" from the Defence Forces with 136 officers leaving early over the past two years.
Some had been poached by the private sector while others had applied successfully for jobs with companies like supermarket chains, Aldi and Lidl, as well as Ryanair and Aer Lingus and posts in IT and cyber areas.