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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by EUFighter View Post
    Irelandís defence spending is lowest in Europe at 0.3% of GDP

    By Sean OíRiordan
    The Department of Defence added that each country pursues a defence policy that reflects its particular requirements and there can be significant differences in the proportion of funding that differing states allocate to defence.

    ďWhile there is always the potential to invest additional resources in defence, this must be considered against other social, economic and environmental prioritiesĒ

    The department said that there are a range of other international comparator measures which would place Ireland higher compared to other countries, including total defence expenditure, the percentage of overall government expenditure, and expenditure on a per capita basis.


    To use a phase made popular earlier this year "I call BS!!" (What is also often left out is that 25% of our defence budget is to cover Pensions)
    Clear, if we compare spend per capita or overall expenditure to a small Third World country we come out on top. But we have to be compared to our peers and that is other small/medium First World nations.

    Taking % GDP is a means to be able to fairly compare, if the economy is doing bad the GDP and spend goes down, if it is doing good GDP climes and so doe expenditure in absolute term. All the time the % stays the same, back in the late 80's we had still is a slight recession but our spend was 1.3%, a whole 1% more than today!

    So lets look at some other indicators:
    Firstly defence as % of total government budget
    Top: Estonia 6.0%
    Bottom: Luxembourg 1.0%
    Ireland: 1.1%
    Denmark: 2.3%
    Finland: 2.3%
    Sweden: 2.6%
    EU Avg: 2.6%

    Next the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) GMI Index.
    The Global Militarization Index (GMI) depicts the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of one state in relation to its society as a whole.
    Here we are on place 117 in the world, Israel being number 1.
    Ireland: 493pts
    Denmark: 642pts
    Finland: 718pts
    Sweden: 523pts

    One of the key sub-indicators in the GMI is the Military Expenditure Index Score: comparison of military expenditure with its gross domestic product (GDP) and its health expenditure (as share of its GDP);
    Ireland: 4.32
    Denmark: 4.42
    Finland: 4.96
    Sweden: 4.86

    We could go on with more comparisons but as we all know you can tell whatever story you want by selecting what to show and what not. But the general view is that no matter what index you use we are the bottom for defence. And what is more annoying is the DoD defending it with BS rather than being honest and saying the "outside some photo ops for politicos we do not give a flying f..k about funding defence"
    In light of this level of Defence funding (lets be honest here 0.3% is not exactly a gold medal performance) and in light of the fact that the US (Trump) are out to turn the screws on the Europe viz trade and sharing the Defence burden, could the EU in turn start playing hardball with some countries such as Ireland when it comes to expectations of the required collective security within Europe?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anzac View Post
    In light of this level of Defence funding (lets be honest here 0.3% is not exactly a gold medal performance) and in light of the fact that the US (Trump) are out to turn the screws on the Europe viz trade and sharing the Defence burden, could the EU in turn start playing hardball with some countries such as Ireland when it comes to expectations of the required collective security within Europe?
    Think we still have an opt out that says they can't make us increase spending, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was something.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky42 View Post
    Think we still have an opt out that says they can't make us increase spending, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was something.
    I doubt there's a specific mechanism, but if you don't share the burden you can't expect other states to go into bat for you on the the things that matter to Ireland that don't matter that much to, say, Germany, France or Poland.

    If BREXIT was beginning in a couple of years into a Trump presidency it would have been interesting to see how much emphasis the EU side placed on the issues surrounding the Irish border...

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  5. #29
    Space Lord of Terra morpheus's Avatar
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    I for one wish that they WOULD make us pay for it. at least id be happier about how my tax euros were being spent
    "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
    "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."

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  7. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by morpheus View Post
    I for one wish that they WOULD make us pay for it. at least id be happier about how my tax euros were being spent
    You mean to say you have a problem with your tax money going to support Jacinta, her 5 kids(one of whom has a "learning disability") by 4 fathers, her 4 bed social house and her annual holiday in Malaga?
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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  9. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmitŪ View Post
    You mean to say you have a problem with your tax money going to support Jacinta, her 5 kids(one of whom has a "learning disability") by 4 fathers, her 4 bed social house and her annual holiday in Malaga?
    And one of the Daaas liven with her.

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  11. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    And one of the Daaas liven with her.
    Dey are gettin married in Vegas next summer cos if dey get married here de social will take de bleedin house off her....
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anzac View Post
    In light of this level of Defence funding (lets be honest here 0.3% is not exactly a gold medal performance) and in light of the fact that the US (Trump) are out to turn the screws on the Europe viz trade and sharing the Defence burden, could the EU in turn start playing hardball with some countries such as Ireland when it comes to expectations of the required collective security within Europe?
    There is no collective security mechanism within the EU (and NATO doesnít guarantee a military response to an attack either)

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    There is no collective security mechanism within the EU (and NATO doesnít guarantee a military response to an attack either)
    I realise that DeV but I am speculating about playing hardball if patience runs out whilst the wider security situation of the EU deteriorates. Geo-politically 2018 feels very different to when the Lisbon Treaty was ratified what may it be like in another decade?

    There are obligations under Article 42(7) TEU and if the so called Irish Clause in the second sentence "This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States" were lets say be revisited by the European Court of Justice interpreting that another or new EU ruling stipulating minimum contributions of all member nations was not in itself prejudicial to "the specific character of the security and defence policy" of Ireland. Where would be Irelands wriggle room?

    Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from NATO, the Brits are heading for Brexit meaning they will be off EU collective security reservation might mean that Brussels, Paris and Berlin might not be so accommodating about letting a 0.3% of GDP slide in the future. Post Brexit Britain and a US exit from NATO (which one cannot discount) would leave Ireland in a very awkward situation.

  15. #35
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    Anzac, those are good points about NATO and the EU. Europe is certainly different than it was when the Lisbon treaty was signed. However, short of a collapse of NATO and the EU taking on a defense role, I don't see any potential for change in Ireland. Changes in Irish politics are driven by a popular movement (think of the 8th amendment) or a crisis (financial crisis). A popular movement with a "pro-defense" message in Ireland seems highly unlikely given most of the public are largely indifferent to defense issues. A crisis which threatens national sovereignty or security would have to rise to the level of military action against Ireland (a) seems unlikely and (b) would be too late.


    The EU and NATO are broadly consensus based organizations, and will add caveats to treaties in treaties like Lisbon to keep the treaty moving. Adding the Lisbon clause to satisfy Ireland was easy enough because militarily we really are a complete afterthought. We have no capability to offer the alliance and we have very little the alliance really needs. The scale of investment in defense to provide even a modicum of realistic capacity to defend Ireland (either as part of an alliance or not) would take 10 years plus to implement and cost billions of Euros. Politically it would never even start.

    We have to be realistic sadly. A shooting war in Europe is somewhat unlikely (although nothing is impossible), if it did kick off we'd either be ignored or occupied to some degree (takeover of Shannon Airport perhaps). NATO & the EU would be so busy with their own defense, they won't spare a though for the Irish. Ireland missed the boat in the early years of NATO, a great opportunity to join the alliance. Politically it's highly unlikely now of not impossible, so we are where we are.

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  17. #36
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    I tend to think that the change will not come internally but externally. We are already seeing the start of a discussion on an EU/Eurozone budget and this is just the start. Clearly Germany/France want to reduce their exposure to supporting southern Europe while keeping them on-board but the discussion will expand. Where the debate will go no-one can yet say but we can be certain that for common concerns such as defence there will be change. If can be that in exchange for not having a common tax on tech companies there is a common 2% funded defence budget (PESCO+++). We would most likely then be an in-direct contributor, but also in this case not see much in return for our DF.

    It is one possible option and many more could and are likely come. The body politic in this country have very little understanding of defence and are still hold to an understanding from the late 1930's!! So after almost 100 years of sticking their heads in the sand I do not see them even recognising what needs to be done. And here I mean the education of the Joe public to defence issues and that it does not start when an enemy sets foot on an Irish beach! It start with ensuring peace and stability in far away countries. The crisis in the Med is one that threatens our future just as much as if ISIS were fling bomber aircraft over our heads. It means being pro-active with peace making and peace keeping operations far from our mild shores. It means being ready to stand alongside other EU partner nations when they feel threatened ....... et al. it means getting away from the "all common defence" is only supporting the imperialist USA and UK, that talking can solve all problems. The latter can but in some situations as the old say goes "talk softly but carry a big stick", sometimes force is needed. And in todays radicalised world the other side is not one you want to or can talk with.

    Sadly I believe our political leaders will miss the boat and spend their time looking for an opt-out when we should engage more and bring the vast experience we together with some other EU partners have gained over the last 60+ years of international operations. NATO need not be the only answer for EU defence, would we still have a Irish/Finnish battalion in UNIFIL if we had more common defence posture with both Finland and Sweden??

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  19. #37
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    We are contributing to regional security - Kosovo, Bosnia, Op Sophia, Mali, Somalia (and others in past)

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  21. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmitÔŅĹ View Post
    You mean to say you have a problem with your tax money going to support Jacinta, her 5 kids(one of whom has a "learning disability") by 4 fathers, her 4 bed social house and her annual holiday in Malaga?
    It's 'Our Courtney' up here...
    'History is a vast early warning system'. Norman Cousins

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  23. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    We are contributing to regional security - Kosovo, Bosnia, Op Sophia, Mali, Somalia (and others in past)
    However those examples are not within the EU. There is more to collective security than offering a contingent under a UN Chapter VI or VII mandate.

  24. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anzac View Post
    However those examples are not within the EU. There is more to collective security than offering a contingent under a UN Chapter VI or VII mandate.
    I was referring to EUfighter’s comment about our defence (EU and Ireland) includes ensure peace and stability in far away countries- we do!

  25. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    I was referring to EUfighter’s comment about our defence (EU and Ireland) includes ensure peace and stability in far away countries- we do!
    Thanks for that.

    TBH some of the comments so far undersell Irelands capabilities where there are strengths that should not be dismissed - that Ireland has nothing to offer the collective security within Europe right now.

    Special Forces is one strength area and so is Maritime ISR. Both will be enhanced further under the DWP. The ARW to get bigger and if CASA replacement was given more robust funding to enable more airframes for example. As for contributions to future EU Battle Groups those can be expanded with fairly modest investments in terms of upgrading equipment.

    If a smallish country (Though an OECD member with nearly 5 million folk is not really "small") can contribute one or two useful capabilities towards regional collective security from each of its armed services - Air, Naval & Land Forces that provides for a positive force enabler.

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  27. #42
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    Anzac, I agree, Ireland does have some niche capabilities and I also agree those could (and should) be expanded. No, Ireland will never have a real force projection capability and we really don't need it. We should continue to expand our niche capabilities and build on other capabilities which could be plugged into the EU/PfP/whatever it's called this week.

    This would require a certain degree of strong political will to get past the "we're neutral" and "whataboutery" crowd and not forgetting the Mick and Mary show types. I'd start by dumping the triple lock. Irish foreign & defense policy is the remit of the Irish govt, not the UN. As Anzac stated, building on maritime surveillance, SF and I'd add EOD and my usual round of integrated air defense radars (at least knowing who is out there).

    it would be another story altogether for Ireland to build any real capability to defend itself, and I don't ever see the political or economic climate for that. Helping the neighbours, contributing items of substance would be a good start.

    A

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