Ireland has been living a lie 'to some degree' in terms of neutrality, a former head of the Defence Forces has claimed.
Former Chief of Staff Mark Mellett was speaking as the impact of the war in Ukraine on the State's foreign policy is in focus.
It is expected that from next week, tented accommodation will be used for new arrivals from Ukraine.
The Department of Integration has said there are over 24,600 beneficiaries of temporary protection in Ireland.
While almost 7,000 additional beds have been contracted since May 1st, there remains a shortfall.
A spokesperson for the Department of Integration said due to this significant shortfall, it is expected that from next week tented accommodation will be used for new arrivals from Ukraine.
Vice Admiral Mellett told The Hard Shoulder he welcomes renewed discussions around Irish neutrality.
"I think we have, to some degree, been living a lie in terms of our interpretation of neutrality," he said.
"Back in 1999... Garret Fitzgerald wrote a very interesting article in The Times where he spoke about the myths of Irish neutrality.
"The points he made were [that] we weren't neutral in the Second World War, we weren't neutral in the context of our support for NATO when it was established, and we weren't neutral when it came to our support for the EC.
"What we have managed, however, is to retain the competence with regards to how we use our military as a sovereign competence - and that's fine.
"At the same time we are in a global economy, we take sides in terms of events like Ukraine where politically we're not neutral at all."
'Static winter' in Ukraine
Vice Admiral Mellett said the situation in Ukraine is 'worrying'.
"The counter-offensive has not produced the results that I think many of us wished it would," he said.
"I think we're going to run into a winter whereby the lines will become static, and we're back into a fighting season again in 2024.
"This will probably run on into 2025; I think it's going to be a test of the resilience of the west to continue to support the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian government.
"But on the other hand the Russian Federation cannot afford to lose, Ukraine cannot afford to lose and the west cannot afford to stop supporting Ukraine."
Consequences for Ireland 'remains to be seen'
Vice Admiral Mellett said it remains to be seen what the political consequences will be for Ireland.
"We're not military aligned and that's correct, we will respond up to now with the Triple Lock," he said.
"One of the consequences of the Ukraine invasion has been the question of the power of the permanent five [members] in terms of UN Security Council decisions with Russia - and others - there able to veto critical decisions.
"That's now back on the agenda, and it remains to be seen what the political outcome is for Ireland," he added.
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