Ireland and Nato

Sir, – Mike Forde asks if it is time for Ireland to join Nato (July 11th). However, the case for Ireland to join Nato weakened considerably when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The Soviet Union was an ongoing strategic threat to all of western Europe. Present-day Russia, much weaker militarily, poses a different, and more localised, threat, admittedly of particular concern to EU member states along the Baltic. Nato and the EU should work together to counter this threat, with Ireland playing a full role as an EU member state. Ireland should retain its present defence posture of flexible neutrality, unless and until a mutual defence commitment arises in the context of an EU defence policy. – Yours, etc.


(Colonel, retired),



Co Meath.

Sir, – No, we should not join Nato. Supplicant Irish officials, quivering in self-abasement, returning from a Nato summit, as they did from the EU-ECB-IMF talks, to tell us we must hand over, immediately, 4 per cent of GDP to armaments procurement, because the most powerful man in the world – who is of questionable stability – had so instructed them, does not bear thinking about. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – The Nato summit in Brussels this week confirmed that the minimum spend on a defence budget is 2 per cent of economic output (GDP) as the price of membership. Ireland’s current expenditure on defence is approximately 0.33 per cent of GDP, which amounts to €946 million. To comply with membership of Nato this would need to be increased to over €5 billion. Where does your letter writer suggest this come from? – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.