Varadkar's airspace claim '˜foolish' as Irish need RAF

The Irish state's 'dependence' on the RAF for air defence in the event of a terrorist attack makes the taoiseach's claims over airspace rights appear 'foolish,' Jim Allister has said.

Friday, 20th July 2018, 3:54 pm
Updated Friday, 20th July 2018, 3:58 pm
TUV leader Jim Allister

The TUV leader was responding to Leo Varadkar’s assertion that a hard Brexit could lead to UK flights being blocked from entering Irish airspace.

Highlighting a recent article in the UK Defence Journal, Mr Allister said: “Leo Varadkar’s suggestion that UK flights could be denied access to Irish airspace in the event of us reclaiming our territorial waters after Brexit is, of course, foolish but a point which has escaped the notice of most to date is the possible implications for the defence of the Republic of Ireland were such a course of action adopted by Dublin.”

The Defence Journal article (read here) states: “The agreement reportedly permits the British military to conduct armed operations over Ireland in the event of a terrorist-attack, real or suspected.

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“Ireland operates ‘The Air Corps’ who fly a fleet of fixed and rotary wing aircraft (but no jet aircraft).”

Mr Allister added: “Given that the Irish State is dependent on the RAF for its air defence in the event of a terrorist attack it is obviously exceedingly unwise for Varadkar to pompously and arrogantly suggest that Dublin could deny civilian aircraft from the UK access to Irish airspace.

“It seems he wants to have his cake and eat it.”