Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has announced his plan to bring a memo to Government this month recommending a “significant increase in expenditure on defence”. In an interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister Coveney said we now have very clear evidence on the back of the commission that reported on the capacity problems within the Defence Forces that we need to address. “We need to move ahead as well with an open mind I think on broader debates around what neutrality means today, versus what it might have meant ten years ago or five years ago or even six months ago because that debate is changing. It is moving on in the European Union, and we need to be part of that.” Speaking from Helsinki as Finland has applied for Nato membership amid security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Coveney said we’ve seen a huge shift in public and political support because of the outbreak of war. Russian aggression “And because of Russian aggression, and fear of what that means for the future. Of course, the debate in Ireland is very different because I don’t think the broader public in Ireland feels a direct threat from Russia to Irish sovereignty and security in the same way that is the case here in Finland. “But undoubtedly, there is debate happening across the European Union, whether it’s in Finland and Sweden, where I am today or indeed in many other countries, where there’s a lot of discussion now around how the EU secures its future and protects its people and Ireland needs to be part of that debate. And we will. ” In the course of his trip to Finland, Mr Coveney will visit the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki, which was first established five years ago with support from Nato and the EU. He will also hold meetings with Finland’s minister for foreign affairs Pekka Haavisto and defence minister Antti Kaikkonen.