A former member of the Defence Forces says Ireland has become a "surrogate proxy" for issues that are happening over in Ukraine.
Retired Brigadier General Ger Aherne says he was not surprised at planned Russian naval exercises off the Irish coast.
The drills have since been moved beyond our Exclusive Economic Zone.
But General Aherne told Newstalk Breakfast our position makes us valuable.
"I think the Russian naval exercises in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Ireland was entirely predictable.
"We believed for a long that time that our geographical location was an insulator for us.
"But in actual fact, our geographic location is one of the greatest accelerators at the moment - because we control the western approaches to Europe on sea and in the air.
"And obviously with modern technology and the internet and communications, we are the closest landmass to North America where the cables are.
"So therefore why would the Russian navy not be interested in this particular area?
"Ireland has become a surrogate proxy for issues that are happening over in Ukraine - so our geography is an issue".
'Never truly neutral'
Asked about Ireland's neutral position, he says we have never been a truly neutral State.
"Ireland has never been truly neutral within the requirements of customary international law, which are coalified in The Hague Conventions of 1907.
"In the strict tenants of international law, neutrality is only a wartime posture.
"There was only one occasion when our true commitment to neutrality was tested - and that was between 1939 and 1945 - and we failed all of the tests of the requirements of international law on that occasion."
But he says criticism around US troops at Shannon Airport are a "red herring", as this is simply Ireland fulfilling its United Nations obligations.
"When we joined the United Nations in 1955, we signed up to compliance with articles 24 and 25 of the United Nations Charter.
"[This] requires us to offer transit rights to troops that are going through our country either on mandated, or what's called authorised, UN missions."
He says with the exception of the first Gulf War, US troops transiting through Ireland are either on UN missions or routine rotations.
"So this is a total red herring about Shannon and we talk about neutrality - it has nothing to do with it.
"It's compliance with our membership of the United Nations".
And he believes Ireland does not have the ability to defend itself, but funding could change this.
"In the Defence budget for 2022, €105m - or 13% of the budget - is allocated to the purchase of vehicles, aircraft, ships, maintenance, buildings, uniforms, ammunition and all of that.
"I would suggest that realistically, in the coming three to five years, if some monies of the order of 150m to 200m per year was allocated to the Defence budget it would be transformational".