Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Seán Ó Fearghaíl has welcomed the decision to separate Cabinet responsibility for the Departments of Defence and Justice.

Fianna Fáil has consistently called for the two departments to be separated and reiterated that call in the party’s submission for the White Paper on Defence.

“The decision in March 2011 to assign the Defence portfolio as a subsidiary role to the Minister for Justice indicated an essential lack of respect for the position,” said Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.

“Furthermore it is almost without parallel in the democratic world for the Minister with political responsibility for policing to also be in charge of the military. Only tiny Luxembourg follows this policy. In the words of one former army officer: ‘all the security forces come under one Minister – and that means all the lawful lethal force of the State’.

“While it is not unreasonable to assign Defence with another Cabinet portfolio, to do so with Justice and Equality, one of the busiest government departments, was a retrograde decision.

“We believe that the restoration of Defence as a lead portfolio in Cabinet would be a clear affirmation of the value we as a State must place on our Defence Forces,” said Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.