Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has claimed Ireland cannot assume the UK and US will “save us” if attacked.

Mr Varadkar’s comments come on the same day as the devastating conflict between Russia and Ukraine entered its second week.

Speaking to the Dail, Mr Varadkar told TDs that ‘a sovereign country’ like Ireland cannot assume other countries will protect it.

Leo Varadkar has claimed Ireland cannot assume the UK and US will ‘save us’ if attacked. Photo: Fran Veale

“We assume that even if we are attacked, the British and the Americans will come to save us. And I’m not sure that’s the kind of assumption a sovereign country like ours should be making,” he said.

Calling the events in Ukraine “a wake-up call”, Varadkar said Ireland should be ready to defend itself in the event of an attack on the country.

He explained: “This attack on Ukraine should be a wake-up call for all of us to defend our system and be prepared to defend it, because a system worth building is worth defending. .”

Mr Varadkar thinks Ireland’s independence is worth “guaranteeing”. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

“If the European Union was worth building, it is worth defending, and if our independence was worth securing, it is also worth defending.”

Minister for Business, Trade and Employment told People Before Profit TD Mick Barry that he disagreed with a recent report which recommended Ireland increase defense spending up to 3 billion euros per year.

“I think that would be too much. There are other priorities and other demands. But I think we need to increase defense spending. We have to pay our military more.

Petrol prices are skyrocketing in Ireland. Photo: Shutterstock

“We need better equipment. We must be able to protect our own seas. We need to be able to have radar above our own airspace,” he said.

Le Tanaiste admitted on Thursday that the government was “concerned about energy prices”, with the price of petrol in Ireland now standing at €2 a litre.

“We have already seen increases in our gas bills, electricity bills and unfortunately due to events in Ukraine we are likely to see further increases over the next couple of weeks.

“The government will respond. We have already responded in terms of fuel allowance and reduction for households on electricity bills. We are looking at other ways to respond,” he said.