Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence Sorca Clarke TD has expressed concerns following reports that Russia is set to test missiles off the coast of Ireland next month.
This comes following reports that the Government has received a warning of a major exercise by the Russian navy and air force in the Atlantic off the South West coast.
Teachta Clarke said:
“I am deeply concerned that Russia is to conduct a missile test off the coast of County Cork in the first week of February.
“The lack of primary radar is the reason other state entities have been probing our airspace for years with high-altitude bombers and escorts. These foreign aircraft can see us but we cannot see them.
“While the 2015 White Paper recognises that radar surveillance is a priority, there has been no meaningful action by government since then to deliver on it. Our Naval Service is now understaffed and under-equipped with no capability to see below sea level and normal operation of units is an ongoing issue.
“Our own Defence Forces staffing levels have been impacted by reducing numbers over the last number of years and it is an area of concern repeatedly highlighted by representative bodies.
“Reports of Naval Service ships being anchored or running on skeleton crews due to severe understaffing are hugely worrying.
“International testing exercises, such as these latest reports from Russia, are placing increased pressure on our already over-stretched Defence Forces that successive governments have failed to invest in and support properly.”