There's a warning that the situation in the Defence Forces has gone beyond crisis point due to limited funding, staffing and resources.
Security specialist Tom Clonan says the lack of resources means there are weaknesses around Irish airspace and territorial waters - leading to situations that undermine Ireland's neutrality.
A Commission on Future of the Defence Forces is being set up to examine issues such as pay and conditions.
Recent years have seen members of the Defence Forces repeatedly urge the Government to improve pay.
Tom Clonan - security specialist, former Army captain and columnist with TheJournal.ie, told The Pat Kenny Show that the current situation is a major problem on a number of fronts.
He said: "The numbers have dropped down... they're below crisis point now. The naval service cannot conduct its maritime patrols: we've had three patrols cancelled in the last number of space.
"We have ships - capital assets of the State - tied up down in Cork, when we have 15% of the EU's fishing waters to patrol. It's a boon to drug gangs who use Irish waters as their approach route to Europe.
"In our airspace... we're the only country in the EU that doesn't have primary radar to look into our Irish controlled airspace. This is when we have 75% of Europe's air traffic passing through our controlled airspace to the United States."
He noted there's been "dozen of incidents" where there have been Russian aircraft flying through Irish airspace.
He suggested: "It's like driving down the M7 with your lights turned off.
"They can see other aircraft, but the other aircraft can't see them... it's very reckless and dangerous."
'We can't claim to be neutral'
Dr Clonan said the UK's Royal Air Force is 'effectively patrolling' Irish airspace due to the current situation.
He argued: "Basically, our skies are patrolled by NATO.. our defence is provided by NATO... our pilots are being trained by NATO in Fort Rucker in Alabama.
"When NATO are patrolling our airspace and providing our defence... we can't claim to be neutral. And [neutrality is] a coroner-stone of our foreign policy, and one of the most precious diplomatic assets we have.
"We spend the lowest percent of our GDP on defence of anyone in the European Union... we're well below.
"The first thing we need to do... we need to pay our Defence Forces a living wage. Our soldiers, sailors and air crew are below the poverty line. [Members are] leaving... the most essential skill-sets are leaving."
He also pointed out that Ireland has some of the world's largest companies storing huge amounts of data here, but "we have no protection" for it despite the rise in cyber-attacks.
He said: "We have some of the most qualified and skilled cyber-defence experts in the world in our Defence Forces... but unfortunately they're leaving.
"If we want to continue to attract foreign direct investment, we have to provide a secure environment... the Defence Forces are part of what makes our economy work."
Dr Clonan said the situation isn't the fault of the Defence Force chiefs or general staff, as they're 'being ignored' by some senior civil servants and ministers.
He said that Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney 'does have an insight' into the situation, but there's now a need for the public to 'support our troops'.