MEP Kelleher calls for honest and open-minded debate on Defence Forces future

Published on: 08 February 2022

- Cooperation at EU level on cybersecurity is essential -

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has called for an honest and open minded debate on the future of the Defence Forces and Ireland’s role in future EU military co-operation.Kelleher, an MEP for Ireland South, made the request after Defence Minister; Simon Coveney brought a memo to Government outlining options regarding the future of Óglaigh na hÉireann.“I fully expect knee-jerk, hyper-reactionary statements from the extremes of Irish politics but we need to have an honest and open debate on our Defence Forces.“For too long the Irish State has not invested properly in either our military human resource or in equipment. Being neutral does not mean not being committed to fully resourcing and equipping our service men and women for the challenges of the 21st century.“We need military-grade radar and, I believe, the ability to protect our air space.

“Furthermore, the recent aggressive actions from Russia, in Crimea and on the Ukrainian border, requires us to look at how we co-operate with other like-minded nations.

“For example, the evidence suggests that Ireland was a victim of Russian aggression last year when it allowed hackers operating on its soil hack and derail the Irish health system.“We must cooperate more on cybersecurity and preparedness at the very least. Our commitment to the Triple Lock cannot stop us working collectively to protect our citizens,” concluded Kelleher.