Wednesday 21 February 2018

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

Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney
Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

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.

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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