A retired member of the Defence Forces has said Ireland is not an independent nation as we cannot defend ourselves.
Tom, a former commandant, said Ireland's "à la carte" approach means we are not actually neutral.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Brussels and pledged Ireland's continued support for Ukraine.
Privilege to meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy today. We stand with all Ukrainians, who are fighting for democracy and freedom, for Europe and the world. #SlavaUkraine @ZelenskyyUa pic.twitter.com/rPFGtks35f
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) February 9, 2023
Tom told Lunchtime Live our stance on Ukraine has brought this question up again.
"The first thing we have to look at when we talk about neutrality is what actually defines it," he said.
"Have we proclaimed a neutral stand when it comes to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine?
"That's an open question... is the act of providing non-lethal military aid and support to Ukraine a proclamation of neutrality?
"In my opinion, the answer is, 'no'".
'How we set ourselves up'
Tom said we are consistent in our unusual approach.
"When you look back into our history and look back to the foundation of the State, it's how we set ourselves up," he said.
"It's consistent with our policy for neutrality since the foundation of the State.
"We won't join any alliances like NATO, but we'll cooperate extensively with our neighbours."
He said the Government is in line with "our version of neutrality."
"Does it mean we're technically neutral? I don't think so".
'No is the answer'
He said this also calls into question Ireland's actual existence as a nation.
"As a nation State we're obliged to defend ourselves as well," he said.
"As a former Defence Forces member looking at it now: can we defend ourselves as a neutral state, which is what we're required to do? No is the answer.
"Are we independent then, even as a nation, and I would say no.
"We can't remain independent because we are not self-sufficient when it comes to the policing of our State in peacetime.
"We require other people to help us with that.
"If you look at Finland, Sweden, Austria - other neutral states - they're heavily armed with their defence industry in order to maintain that neutrality.
"We have an à la carte version of neutrality," he added.
Listen back to the full interview here: