Charlie Flanagan: Ireland cannot bury its head in the sand on defence in what is an emergency situation

As an island nation, our failure to have a reasonably sized navy is a cause of shame

Soldiers examine debris in Kharkiv, Ukraine: The international community and the EU in particular had not acted adequately to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine in 2014. Picture: Getty

Our world has become dangerously uncertain. Ireland’s wellbeing and prosperity depend on the continuation of a robust international rules based order, democracy, rule of law, free trade and a free press.

Due to our geographical location and for a variety of historical reasons external defence and security have never been major national issues for the Irish people. Even as Ireland became more integrated into the global economy, our defence capacity didn’t keep pace.

The clearest ...