EU Countries Must Come Together to Patrol the Atlantic Ocean

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February 18, 2024

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell today called on the government to cooperate with other nations and form an Atlantic Fleet to defend EU security interests.

The Senator who sits on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence emphasised that it was essential to do this considering the amount of data transacted from Ireland.

In a statement, Senator Craughwell said, “I read this morning that we are now down to one ship to patrol our western shores. That is deeply worrying… I believe the assets that exist off the west coast of Ireland and the west coasts of France, Spain and Portugal right the whole way down and whole way up north to Norway, Finland, etc, should be patrolled as a European Union. The time has come for the European family to pool its resources and have a shared Atlantic Ocean that would be patrolled by all states.”

The Senator said the presence of undersea cables, gas lines and electricity interconnectors necessitates this level of international saying, “Consider the amount of data that is crossing through our economic zone. We cannot protect it. As a European family, we could protect it. We have to start as a nation building alliances with like-minded countries to protect the assets that run the economies of the world. That includes undersea cables, gas lines, electricity interconnectors and all of that.”

In closing, he highlighted his wish for Ireland to be a neutral country and said that we are “totally dependent” on foreign countries to protect us.



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Senator Gerard Craughwell
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Independent Senator & member of the Labour Vocational Panel of Seanad Éireann.


I was born in Galway in 1953 and am one of eleven children.  I am married to Helen, and I have two children David and Rebecca and one grandchild Ellie. I started work at the age of 16 as a bar man in London but was always drawn to a military life and a few months after starting work in London I joined the Kings Division Depot of the Royal Irish Rangers as a boy soldier. The training was tough but by the time I   was 17 I   was a first class signals operator, the youngest Lance Corporal in the regiment and  had completed my   first instructors course. Life was good.

I  stayed in the British Army until 1974 when I   was forced to make a choice between the British Army and a return to Ireland and I  choose the latter. I  was fortunate to be able to join the Irish Army and having survived the ordeal of recruit basic training for the second time and this time as Gaeilge,  I   was soon transferred to the Non Commissioned Officers training school for  the Western Command where I   was appointed as Corporal and later Sergeant and a instructor in the training school.

In 1980 an opportunity came to allow me   to leave the army and take over a contract my   father had with Calor Gas. Three  days after I   finished with the army,  Calor Gas took a decision to dispense with external contractors.  I   was out of the army and had no contract.  I  formed a Limited Company GAS Ltd (Galway Appliance Services Ltd) and very soon secured a contract with Flo Gas.  The business grew rapidly we moved from domestic work into industrial work. Despite working every hour God sent me the Company failed and in 1983 it went into Liquidation.  This was a very tough time for our family as we lost our home and everything we had.

Encouraged by my wife Helen I looked for work everywhere and got a job as a Part-time Driver with Underfoot Distributors Ltd Athlone, Co. Westmeath.  The work was hard and the hours long but I was grateful to be able to provide for my family again. As luck would have it I  was blessed to  get a good job with Aughinish Alumina Ltd in 1986. The company paid for our re-location to Limerick where we began a whole new life. In 1990 as a result of a serious back injury my career with Aughinish came to an end.  I was 37 and without qualifications. Once again fate intervened and an ad in the The Limerick Post’  offering a BSc in Economics jumped off the page at me.  My early days at Limerick Senior College  were among the most stressful days of my life, but unlike my earlier educational experiences,  LSC was not like school.  I will never forget the kindness and professionalism of those who taught there.

Despite  many pressures  I succeeded in my course  and  one of the proudest days of my life was my graduation from the London School of Economics in  the Barbican Centre London.  Following my graduation I was given 11 hours teaching at LSC  while undertaking a Post Graduate Diploma in Computing at the University of Limerick.  In 1995 having qualified with a Graduate Diploma in Computing I started work at the Senior College Dun Laoghaire and my family made another move, this time to Dublin.

From the moment I arrived at SCD I was aware of the “can-do” ethos just like I had experienced  at LSC.  However now the shoe was on the other foot and I was the one at the blackboard.  The level of collegiately I experienced at SCD was incredible. I became an  Assistant Principal in the school and an active member of the Teachers Union of Ireland  where I was   Chairman of the Further education Committee for the TUI Executive Committee and a Board Member of the TUI Credit Union.  I was the sole Irish Committee Member of the Information Technology Certifying Organisation CompTIA. In 2012 I was thrilled to become  the President of the TUI a post I held until 2014.


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