Senator accuses government of drawing 'veil of secrecy' over national security

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell claims a secret deal allows British planes to patrol Irish skies

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is meeting with various agencies this morning to assess Ireland’s preparedness for a Manchester style terror attack.

Groups from justice, defence, health and transport are in attendance.

But Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has accused the Government of drawing a veil of secrecy over Ireland's national security.

He claims a deal, allowing British RAF planes patrol Irish skies in an emergency, was made without consulting the defence forces, adding that his efforts to discuss it in Leinster House were shut down.

"The response I got from the leader of the house is that we can't discuss this because it's a matter of national, security," he told Newstalk Breakfast. "I subsequently met a senior member of the government who told me I should back away from this.

"It is my view that the civil servants have bypassed the military and the Gardaí on several important issues."

In response to today's meeting, Senator Craughwell said: "This is outrageous that it's going on. These committees should be meeting all the time but we don't know if they ever meet.

How prepared is Ireland for a terrorist attack?

"The simple answer is we don't know," Senator Craughwell continued. "We have no oversight of the security services in this country."

However, he said the calling of the meeting an indication of how reactive our security thinking is, rather than proactive. 

"Why is it that in this country our national security committee is not answerable or has no oversight from the Oireachtas? [...] We have these people meeting in secret and we don't even know if they're proactive."