Body armour and 10 tonnes of food sent by Ireland to Ukrainian army

ireland
Body Armour And 10 Tonnes Of Food Sent By Ireland To Ukrainian Army Body Armour And 10 Tonnes Of Food Sent By Ireland To Ukrainian Army
Ireland has committed to providing non-lethal aid to Ukrainian forces battling the Russian invasion. Photo: PA Images
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By Geraldine Scott, PA Political Correspondent

Ireland has sent 5,000 ready-to-eat meals and 200 units of body armour to Ukraine, as the war against Russia continues.

The country, while military neutral, has committed itself to providing non-lethal aid to Ukrainian forces battling the Russian invasion.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, alongside a host of senior ministers, has repeatedly stressed that Ireland is not politically neutral in the conflict.

The move was confirmed on Monday by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who said that the 10 tonnes of ready-to-eat meals and the body armour was coming from Irish Defence Forces stocks.

Appearing at an Oireachtas committee last week, Mr Coveney had indicated that the Government was preparing to send spare equipment to the war-torn country.

The Department of Defence confirmed that the equipment and food had already been shipped and will shortly arrive at a Polish logistics hub.

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In a statement, Mr Coveney said: “This contribution is a specific element of the Government’s approximately €11 million contribution through the European Peace Facility and the further €20 million in humanitarian assistance.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney (Niall Carson/PA)

“This practical assistance is a further tangible demonstration of Ireland’s support for and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

The war in Ukraine has reignited debate in political circles about the longstanding policy of Irish neutrality.

“My view right now is our focus is, and the people united on this, is to make sure that there is a speedy response from the European Union on all of the issues that require a such speedy response,” Mr Martin told the BBC on Sunday.

“We will have to reflect on this military neutrality position more generally.

“We’re not a military power in that sense, what Ireland does best is on the humanitarian side, and on the peacekeeping side. Those are our strengths.

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“The bottom line now is that we need to keep a unified focus within Ireland on the Ukrainian situation and what we do best.

“One cannot, in the middle of a crisis, change a long-held policy overnight.”

Earlier, UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “understanding what it means to be a country” in the relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland “tells us something” about the war in Ukraine.

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