Dáil debates

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Naval Service

10:30 am

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I agree with the Minister about needing to prioritise. The number one priority must be the retention of members of the Defence Forces, which is a major issue. We have 1,000 fewer members than where we need to be and the inability to put ships at sea must be tackled first and foremost. Members of the Naval Service are highly committed and passionate about the work they do but they are also realistic about the challenges they face and the ability to put ships at sea in the first instance. The Minister will be well aware that Ireland possesses one of the largest maritime to land ratios within Europe, with a maritime border of 1,315 km. At any point in recent times we have only been able to put one ship at sea, limiting our ability to ensure maritime security. The Minister will also be aware of the continental data cables that go past our southern coast. Due to our limitations, first in terms of personnel but also in terms of subsurface surveillance, our ability to monitor what is happening to those cables is highly limited, putting our security and the European project at risk.


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