Are RAF fighters set to protect the Republic of Ireland from hijacked airliners?

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Over the past week, the Irish media have circulated reports that a secret agreement exists between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom that permits Royal Air Force fighter aircraft to enter Irish airspace in order to shoot down hijacked airliners in a 9/11-type scenario. The story broke on Monday when The Irish Examiner claimed that it had five credible sources within the Irish government and one close to the UK government that the agreement does exist although the Irish Department of Defence refused to answer questions on the topic.

The Irish Examiner claims that the agreement was reached between the Irish departments of defence, foreign affairs and the Irish Aviation Authority and their UK counterparts. As part of the agreement to protect Ireland from such a scenario as the 9/11 attacks, the RAF could also operate in Irish airspace if it was suspected that the hijacked aircraft was to be used against the UK.

Typhoon and bearAt present the Irish Air Corps has no fast-jet combat aircraft of its own. It does have a number of Pilatus PC-9 intermediate trainers that provide air policing duties but these are prop-driven aircraft that lack the speed or firepower of an air superiority fighter such as the RAF’s Typhoon FGR.4. Some sources have suggested that the agreement may also concern the problem of Russian bombers operating close to Irish airspace which have caused major problems for the Irish air traffic control gird and to which the Irish have been unable to counter themselves.

Responding to The Irish Eaxminer’s claims, the Irish Department of Defence reiterated that;

Primary responsibility for the internal security of the State rests with the Department of Justice and Equality and the gardaí, and that it is the long-standing practice of the department not to make any comment on operational or security matters that may affect the State.

The Republic of Ireland has long held a militarily neutral stance on the world stage and is not a member of NATO. Earlier this year the British and Irish governments signed an historic military cooperation agreement but this primarily concerned training.

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6 responses to “Are RAF fighters set to protect the Republic of Ireland from hijacked airliners?

  1. I don’t really see why I, as a British taxpayer, should contribute to the Irish defence budget. Little countries like Denmark have proper aircraft, and Holland and Belgium too. Why not the Irish?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well I guess it could be seen as a quid pro quo for us having to call on the Irish Naval Service because we don’t have enough ships to step up to the Fleet Ready Escort duty, to monitor our own coastline.

    We have to cooperate to survive. Not the enemy; the Treasury.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that the resources of the RAF are scarce enough without having to divert aircraft to support the Republic of Ireland. They are a sovereign nation, and as such should take the responsibility for protecting their own airspace from threats themselves. Should they join NATO, the issue would be a different matter entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If an aircraft was to ‘attack’ such as a 9/11 scenario, would they realistically come across Ireland. It’s a possibility I suppose. Does this ‘agreement’ simply allow us to enter their undefended airspace or are we expected to patrol it. I think there’s a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Britain is not the only country to defend another country’s airspace. Italy has an deal with Slovenia & Albania to protect their airspace, not to menition NORAD, NATO air policing over Iceland & the Baltic states.

    Protecting another country’s airspace is an excellent in extending geopolitical influence over the other country.

    Liked by 1 person

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