Labor leader Ivana Bacik has called for regular national security briefings for opposition party leaders.
He has written to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste noting that work is underway to develop a national security strategy and says the events of the past 18 months clearly demonstrate the need.
“I am writing to you with the request that in the future the opposition leaders be informed about national security, as is customary in many other countries,” says Ms. Bacik.
“This should cover both domestic and international threats.”
Ms. Bacik says an ongoing Special Criminal Court trial has turned up evidence pointing to links between dissident Republicans and organized crime gangs in the recent past.
There have also been several attacks on PSNI officers in Northern Ireland linked to the ‘New IRA’ which are deeply concerning, she says.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said in 2020 that the Garda Síochána was no different from a PSNI/UK security assessment that the IRA and Provisional Army Council structures “continue,” she said.
The Army Council was believed to “oversee” both the IRA and Sinn Féin with an overarching strategy, Ms Bacik said. ‘Has anything in the last three years caused the Commissioner to change his mind on this?
“This is a key reason why I believe it is important for leaders like me to be properly briefed on the status of the various incarnations of the IRA and its successor organizations.”
The parties should also be informed of Russian government operations, counterintelligence and any espionage efforts in Ireland and other countries attempting similar activities. she argues.
“I have addressed both of you on several occasions about the large number of accredited diplomats in the Russian Embassy and the nature of their duties here.
“You will also have seen reports of a Russian spy apparently trying to gain entry to the International Criminal Court after spending four years building his cover here in Dublin.”
Ms Bacik said she noticed that since she was named on Russia’s sanctions list, “a large number of anonymous or bot accounts have been observed targeting my social media posts.”
Opposition party leaders should be informed of efforts being made to determine the extent of attempts to influence or undermine Irish democracy, she said.
“If external actors have tried to influence our elections, it is important that we are informed,” she said.
“We are all aware of the devastating impact of the cyber attack on the HSE, so as opposition leaders we should be informed of the existence or threat of other such cyber attacks.”
She said she is aware that our Defense Forces and An Garda Síochána are currently facing major recruitment and retention issues.
“I would request that we be kept informed of how such difficulties may affect ongoing operations and future troop planning.”
Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin have not yet commented.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/labour-leader-ivana-bacik-seeking-regular-national-security-briefings-for-leaders-of-opposition-parties-42238861.html Union leader Ivana Bacik is trying to organize regular national security briefings for opposition party leaders