A Letter from Edward Horgan to the Editor of Northern Ireland’s News:

Dear Editor,

Statements made by the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces Major General Sean Clancy (Ireland ‘a target for hostile states’ Sunday Times, November 21) should cause concerns for the Irish Government and the Irish people. Without naming Russia directly, he nonetheless has targeted Russia as a hostile state, using questionable reports of “foreign military vessels and aircraft having entered Irish controlled waters and airspace with their transponders switched off”. John Mooney fills in the blank space by saying: “Russian naval vessels and aircraft have done this”. Clancy goes on to say that hostile states “represent not just a risk to critical infrastructure but to every aspect of Irish society as they use hybrid warfare to undermine democracy”. Russia and Nato have been engaging in dangerous confrontations usually hundreds of miles off the Irish coast but there has been no credible evidence that Russia is a ‘hostile state’ towards Ireland. Such an inappropriate assertion by the Chief of Staff is a serious diplomatic insult to a friendly state. Those who threaten Irish sovereignty and Irish neutrality are not the Russians, who have never been a threat to Ireland. During World War 2 it was Germany and Britain that posed a serious threat to our sovereignty. A few Russian bombers flying many miles off the Irish coast must be compared with an estimated 15,000 aircraft associated with the US military landing and refuelling at Shannon airport over the past 20 years. The most serious threats to democracy internationally in recent decades come, not from Russia, but from the US and its Nato allies, who have overthrown the sovereign governments of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and left these countries in chaos, and caused untold suffering with their support for civil wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, all involving gross breaches of international laws including the UN Charter.

Edward Horgan