A secret defence pact with London has allowed British RAF fighter jets to operate with complete freedom in sovereign Irish airspace, it has emerged.
The deal has been kept secret for almost two decades because it is a source of “national humiliation and embarrassment”, according to Dr Cathal Berry, an independent TD and a former member of the 26 County Army.
The secret bilateral agreement permits RAF Typhoon fighters to intercept and shoot down aircraft in Irish airspace at will. The British jets are deployed with their transponders turned off, endangering commercial flights in Irish airspace.
Dr Berry said last week that the agreement, which is in open violation of the military neutrality of the 26 County state, is due to the weakness of Ireland’s air defences.
He expressed concerns that the secret defence pact is unconstitutional under Article 15(6) of the Irish Constitution, which states that only the Dublin parliament can authorise a foreign military force to operate within the State or on behalf of the State.
“The fact that we are defenceless is an incongruity, given that we fought so hard for our independence as a nation, and here we are a century later unwilling to provide the necessary resources to patrol our own sovereign air space,” he said.
“It completely undermines our status as a militarily neutral state that we have to rely on the RAF,” he added.
BOMBS MADE IN BELFAST
Meanwhile, Britain’s increased operation of arms factories in Belfast has been condemned by Anti-Imperialist Action.
Weapons and weapon parts produced by companies like Thales, Harland and Wolff, Spirit AeroSystems are a vital part of the British war machine, AIA said.
They spoke out after a new navy flagship was launched for service with missiles they said were manufactured by ‘Thales Air Defence’ in Belfast, as part of a major new £100m contract with the British Ministry of Defence.
“They have blood on their hands. No weapons of imperialist war should be produced on Irish soil.”
They also accused Thales of producing missiles that are used in Britain’s wars in the Middle East.
“The presence of these key, growing strategic facilities for arming British imperialism demonstrates that Britain has no intention of leaving Ireland any time soon,” AIA said.
“Only a popular campaign mobilising all the people of Ireland can remove their presence.”