Ireland to provide over €12 million to rearm EU militaries

The Irish state will contribute €12 million to a European Union scheme to arm EU countries with missiles, artillery shells, and explosives

This money will form part of a €1 billion initiative aimed at “incentivising the defence industry through a one-off grant to encourage faster production” of explosives. The stated rationale behind the move is to refill ammunition stockpiles which have been depleted by being sent to Ukraine.

This move will likely add to the profits which have been reported across the arms sector amidst international conflict. One ammunitions producer, Rheinmetall, has already boasted that is has benefitted from what it called “the ongoing upswing in the defence sector”, and said that it ended the 2023 fiscal year with “record earnings”.

Whilst it may also appear that this production is merely to replace what has been used on battlefields in Ukraine since 2022, it is worth noting that in February 2023, NATO indicated that it would be increasing its stockpile targets.

As reported in the Irish Times, an Irish Department of Defence spokesperson said that the committing of €12 million of Irish money to re-equipping the likes of Germany and France would “help to enhance the capabilities” of the Defence Forces.

Whilst the Irish state previously defended the state’s provision of non-lethal aid to Ukraine as being keeping with “neutrality”, it is hard to see how part-funding the rearming of NATO member-states with missiles, artillery, and bullets is consistent with the popularly held idea of neutrality. This is not surprising given that the state’s approach to “neutrality” has historically been very selective.

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