Chief of Staff Mark Mellett calls for more defense spending
State defense spending is among the lowest in Europe and we “need to be on guard,” said Chief of Defense Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett.
Writing in the Mayo News, Vice Admiral Mellett said: “We must value and invest in our defenders because, in the words of Byzantine Emperor Maurice, ‘a nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten’.
The Defense Forces, he said, “are part of the foundation that underpins our sovereignty today by providing a framework for our civil society. We ensure resilience in the face of unforeseen events, such as absorbing the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic ”.
His statement comes just days after it emerged that the state, this year, for the first time, had to rely on an EU agency to help it patrol its fishing waters due to the lack of personnel and the shortage of ships in the naval service.
The Irish Marine Fisheries Protection Authority requested support from the European Fisheries Control Agency on four occasions between January and March, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
In a submission to the Defense Forces Commission, the department said the situation continued to deteriorate, exacerbated by the growing need to patrol Irish fishing waters 322 km (200 miles) off the coast. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office told the committee that Ireland’s cooperation with the EU, NATO, through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe would become more and more important.
Defense attachés could also be appointed, he said, particularly in areas where Ireland seeks to expand its global footprint and where cooperation could be established with peacekeeping bodies in Africa and elsewhere.
The appointment of defense attachés and the choices made by the government as to their location would represent “an important development in foreign policy,” the ministry told the committee.
Calling for “increased specialized capabilities within the defense forces,” the department said these should include rapidly deploying units, bomb disposal teams and more peacekeeping and technology experts. emerging military. The department would also support targeted detachments of defense forces to foreign and security policy positions at the United Nations, the EU and NATO, he told the committee, which is examining the future of the United Nations. defense forces.