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Govt to approve plan for joining EU military initiative



Govt to approve plan for joining EU military initiative

The Government is expected to approve a proposal to allow Ireland join an EU military initiative to defend critical seabed infrastructure against sabotage, terrorism and espionage.

Two months ago, the National Risk Assessment identified damage to undersea infrastructure as a key risk for Ireland.

The EU project is part of the PESCO framework where EU member states cooperate to improve the capabilities of their armed forces.

The move by the Government would see Ireland joining other EU countries to develop its surveillance operations and reconnaissance.

It would also result in countries sharing information and honing plans to respond to a threat at sea.

The project is led by Italy and already has seven EU member states participating in it.

It will require both the Government and Dáil approval for Ireland to sign up to the project.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Independent TD Cathal Berry said Ireland needs Europe to help protect infrastructure including a dozen data cables, energy pipelines, gas in particular, and the electricity interconnector between the UK and Ireland.

The former Army Ranger described these as particularly vulnerable, adding that the Corrib gas field contains the most exposed pipeline in all of Europe.

Mr Berry said Ireland is in a unique position as it is the only EU member state that has no natural gas large-scale storage and the only storage is the 48 hours held in the pipes.

“We are particularly exposed,” Mr Berry said, claiming that if the storage was taken out, there would be no natural gas for hospitals, hotels, schools or homes within 48 hours.

The Government is also set to approve a plan to participate in cyber defence exercises, which will be led by the European Defence Agency.

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