MEP Midlands North West

Cyber security could be new peacekeeping role for Irish Defence Forces

Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has said Ireland could play a leading EU role in cyber security following the Government’s move to boost defence spending.

Recommendations from the report of the Commission on the Defence Forces included the creation of a Joint Cyber Defence Command with 100 additional specialist personnel.

The Midlands-North-West MEP said cyber security should be central to defence reforms.

“Ireland has significant expertise in the cyber security space that is not being utilised. There are not currently adequate structures within the Defence Forces to maintain these experts and the state is losing to the private sector as a result. I believe fostering that expertise should be central to modernising the Defence Forces and making Ireland an EU leader in the area”, he commented.

“Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU saw a significant increase in cyber-attacks, such as the infiltration of HSE IT systems last year. These type of attacks present an increasing security risk for individuals, companies and public authorities and we must be more prepared to deal with them. Whether it’s via Defence Force Reserves, or civilian staffing, this scenario must change.

“Ireland is home to the world’s biggest tech companies, has a highly skilled workforce and is the only English speaking country left in the EU. For these reasons, we are uniquely positioned to take the lead on cyber security, which would be on par with peacekeeping missions we are renowned and respected for internationally”, Mr. Markey concluded.

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