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The army of Ireland, known simply as the Army (Irish language: an tArm ), is the main branch of the Defence Forces of Ireland. As of December 2011, approximately 7,650 men and women serve in the Irish Army, divided into two geographically organised brigades. Since 1958 the Army has had a continuous presence in peacekeeping missions around the world as well as its maintaining its primary roles of defending the State and internal security within the State. The Army also participates in the European Union Battlegroups. The Air Corps and Naval Service support the Army in carrying out its roles.
Roles of the Army
The roles of the Army are:
- To defend the Irish state against armed aggression.
- To give aid to the civil power (ATCP). This means that the Army assists, when requested, the Garda Síochána, who have primary responsibility for law and order in Ireland.
- To participate in multinational peace support, crisis management and humanitarian relief operations in support of the United Nations peacekeeping missions, and EUFOR (UN-sanctioned peacekeeping missions only).
- To carry out other duties which may be assigned to them from time to time. For example, assistance on the occasion of natural disasters, assistance in connection with the maintenance of essential services, etc.
Beginning of the Army
The Defence Forces, including the Army, trace their origins to the Irish Volunteers founded in 1913. The Volunteers later became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the guerilla organisation that fought British government forces during the Irish War of Independence. In February 1922, the Provisional Government began to recruit volunteers into the new 'National Army'.
The Provisional Government was set up on 16 January 1922 to transfer power from the British regime to the Irish Free State. On 31 January 1922, a former IRA unit (the Dublin Guard) assumed its new role as the first unit of the new National Army and took over Beggars Bush Barracks, the first British barracks to be handed to the new Irish Free State. The National Army's first Commander-in-Chief, Michael Collins, envisaged the new Army being built around the pre-existing IRA, but over half of this organisation rejected the compromises required by the Anglo-Irish Treaty which established the Irish Free State, and favoured upholding the revolutionary Irish Republic which had been established in 1919.
As such, from January 1922 until late June and the outbreak of the Irish Civil War, there existed two antagonistic armed forces: the National Army, built from a nucleus of pro-Treaty IRA units, and armed and paid by the Provisional Government; and the anti-Treaty IRA who refused to accept the legitimacy of the new state. Both forces continued to use the Irish-language title Óglaigh na hÉireann, which had previously been used by both the Irish Volunteers and the IRA. In July 1922 the Dáil authorised raising a force of 35,000 men; by May 1923 this had grown to 53,000. The National Army lacked the expertise necessary to train a force of that size, such that that approximately one fifth of its officers and half of its soldiers were Irish ex-servicemen of the British Army. These brought considerable experience to it.
Civil War period
The Irish Civil War broke out on 28 June 1922. The pro-Treaty Sinn Féin party, in power in the interim Provisional Government of Southern Ireland, had won an election in June. The British were applying increasing pressure on the government to assert its control over the anti-Treaty units of the IRA who had occupied the Four Courts in Dublin; this garrison had kidnapped JJ O'Connell, a Lieutenant-General in the National Army.
In the early weeks of the Civil War, the newly formed National Army was mainly composed of pro-Treaty IRA units, especially the Dublin Guard, whose members had personal ties to Michael Collins. Its size was estimated at about 7,000 men, in contrast to about 15,000 anti-Treaty IRA men. However, the Free State soon recruited far more troops, with the army's size mushrooming to 55,000 men and 3,500 officers by the end of the Civil War in May 1923. Many of its recruits were war-hardened Irishmen who had served in the British Army during the First World War. W.R.E. Murphy, a second-in-command of the National Army in the civil war (from January until May 1923) had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army, as had Emmet Dalton. Indeed, the Free State recruited experienced soldiers from wherever it could; two more of its senior generals, John T. Prout and JJ "Ginger" O'Connell, had served in the United States Army.
The British government supplied the National Army with uniforms, small arms, ammunition, artillery and armoured units, which enabled it to bring the Civil War to a relatively speedy conclusion. Dublin was taken from anti-Treaty IRA units during the Battle of Dublin in July 1922. The anti-Treaty IRA were also dislodged from Limerick and Waterford in that month and Cork and County Kerry were secured in a decisive seaborne offensive in August.
The remainder of the war was a Guerrilla War concentrated particularly in the south and west of the country. On 15 October, directives were sent to the press by Free State director of communications, Piaras Béaslaí to the effect that Free State troops were to be referred to as the "National Army", the "Irish Army", or just "troops". The Anti-Treaty side were to be called "Irregulars" and were not to be referred to as "Republicans", "IRA", "forces", or "troops", nor were the ranks of their officers allowed to be given. National Army units, especially the Dublin Guard, were implicated in a series of atrocities against captured anti-Treaty fighters.
The National Army suffered about 800 fatalities in the Civil War, including its commander-in-chief, Michael Collins. Collins was succeeded by Richard Mulcahy.
In April 1923, the anti-Treaty IRA called a ceasefire, and in May it ordered its fighters to "dump arms", effectively ending the war.
Irish Free State
With the end of the Civil War, the National Army had grown too big for a peacetime role and was too expensive for the new Irish state to maintain. In addition, many of the civil war recruits were badly trained and undisciplined, making them unsuitable material for a full-time professional army. The Special Infantry Corps was established to perform the army's first post-war duty, breaking the strikes of agricultural labourers in Munster and south Leinster, as well as reversing factory seizures by socialists.
Richard Mulcahy, the new Irish defence minister, proposed to reduce the army from 55,000 to 18,000 men in the immediate post-Civil War period. This provoked mutiny among National Army officers in 1923-24, particularly among former IRA officers who considered that former British Army officers were being treated better than they were.
On 3 August 1923, the new State passed the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, putting the existing armed forces on a legal footing. This Act raised "an armed force to be called Óglaigh na hÉireann (hereinafter referred to as the Forces) consisting of such number of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men as may from time to time be provided by the Oireachtas." The date of the establishment of the Defence Forces was 1 October 1924.[not in citation given][dead link] [not in citation given] The term "National Army" fell into disuse.
The Army had a new establishment, organisation, rank markings, head dress and orders of dress. The National Army's Air Service became the Air Corps and remained part of the Army until the 1990s. An all Irish language speaking unit was created - An Chéad Chathlán Coisithe (English: The First Infantry Battalion) was established in Galway, and functioned exclusively through the medium of the Irish state's first official language.
Ireland remained neutral for the Second World War, which was referred to as "The Emergency" by the Irish government. About 5,000 soldiers deserted and joined the British military. Those soldiers received an official amnesty and apology from the government of Ireland on 7 May 2013.
Despite the Irish neutral stance, the Army was greatly expanded during the war. It grew from about 10,000 men up to about 40,000 by the war's end (with more recruited to reserve forces). By early 1941, this comprised an all-volunteer force of two infantry divisions and two independent brigades, as well as coastal artillery and garrison units. This expansion was enforced in order to ward off potential invasions from either the Allied or Axis powers (both of whom had drawn up contingency plans to invade Ireland).
In 1939, the remnants of the IRA stole a large quantity of the Irish Army's reserve ammunition from its dump at the Magazine Fort in Dublin's Phoenix Park. While this was seen as an embarrassment for the Irish Army, most of it was recovered.
As the war went on, more and newer equipment was purchased from the United Kingdom and the United States. For the duration of the war, Ireland, while formally neutral, tacitly supported the Allies in several ways. German military personnel were interned in the Curragh Camp along with the belligerent powers' servicemen, whereas Allied airmen and sailors who crashed or came ashore in Ireland were very often repatriated, usually by allowing them time to repair their aircraft or get a bus across the border to Northern Ireland.
G2, the Army's intelligence section, played a vital role in the detection and arrest of German spies, such as Hermann Görtz. From 1942 G2 was headed by Colonel Dan Bryan.
Since joining the United Nations in 1955, the Army has been deployed on many peacekeeping missions. The first of these missions took place in 1958, when a small number of observers were sent to Lebanon. A total of 86 Irish soldiers have died in the service of the United Nations since 1960.
The first major overseas deployment came in 1960, when Irish troops were sent to the Congo as part of the UN force ONUC. The Belgian Congo became an independent Republic on 30 June 1960. Twelve days later, the Congolese government requested military assistance from the United Nations to maintain its territorial integrity. On 28 July 1960 Lt-Col Murt Buckley led the 32nd Irish Battalion to the newly independent central African country. This was the most costly enterprise for the Army since the Civil War, as 26 Irish soldiers lost their lives. Nine died in a single incident called the "Niemba Ambush", in which an eleven-man Irish patrol was ambushed by local tribesmen. Nine Irish soldiers and some 25 tribesmen were killed. A Niemba Ambush commemoration is hosted annually by the Irish Veterans Organisation (ONET) in Cathal Brugha Barracks, on the nearest Saturday to the actual date of the ambush. One of the largest ONUC engagements in which Irish troops were involved was the Siege of Jadotville. During this action, a small party of 150 Irish soldiers was attacked by a larger force of almost 4,000 Katangese troops, as well as French, Belgian and Rhodesian mercenaries, and supported by a trainer jet. The Irish soldiers repeatedly repelled the attackers, and knocked out enemy artillery and mortar positions using 60mm mortars. An attempt was made by 500 Irish and Swedish soldiers to break through to the besieged company, but it failed. The Irish commander eventually surrendered his forces. A small number of Irish soldiers were wounded, but none were killed. It is estimated that up to 300 of their attackers were killed, including 30 white mercenaries, and up to 1,000 wounded. A total of 6,000 Irishmen served in the Congo from 1960 until 1964.
Cyprus and the Sinai
Starting in 1964, Irish troops have served as UN peacekeepers in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Over 9,000 Irish personnel have served there to date, without suffering casualties.
In 1973, an infantry group and some logistical troops were pulled out of Cyprus at short notice to serve in the Sinai desert between Egypt and Israel as part of the UN force that supervised the ceasefire that ended the Yom Kippur War.
From 1976 to 1981, UNFICYP was commanded by an Irish officer, Major-General James Quinn.
From 1978 to 2001, a battalion of Irish troops was deployed in southern Lebanon, as part of the UN mandate force UNIFIL. The Irish battalion consisted of 580 personnel which were rotated every six months, plus almost 100 others in UNIFIL headquarters and the Force Mobile Reserve. In all, 30,000 Irish soldiers served in Lebanon over 23 years.
The Irish troops in Lebanon were initially intended to supervise the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from the area after an invasion in 1978 and to prevent fighting between the Palestine Liberation Organization forces and Israel. Another Israeli invasion in 1982 forced the PLO out of southern Lebanon, and occupied the area. The following 18 years, up until 2000 saw prolonged guerilla warfare between Israeli forces, their allies in the South Lebanon Army and Hezbollah. UNIFIL was caught in the middle of this conflict. The Irish battalion's role consisted of manning checkpoints and observations posts and mounting patrols. A total of 47 soldiers were killed. In addition to peacekeeping, the Irish also provided humanitarian aid to the local population - for example aiding the orphanage at Tibnin. From 25 April 1995 to 9 May 1996, Brigadier General P. Redmond served as Deputy Force Commander of UNIFIL during a period that coincided with the Israeli Operation Grapes of Wrath offensive in 1996.
Most Irish troops were withdrawn from Lebanon in 2001, following the Israeli evacuation of their forces the previous year. However 11 Irish troops remained there as observers. They were present during the 2006 Lebanon War. After this conflict, UNIFIL was reinforced and a mechanised infantry company of 165 Irish troops was deployed to southern Lebanon. Their role there was to provide perimeter protection for a Finnish Army engineering unit. After 12 months, the 1st Finnish/Irish Battalion ceased operations and was stood down from duty after having completed its mandate with UNIFIL. A small number of Irish personnel remain in service at UNIFIL HQ in Southern Lebanon.
Iran and Iraq
From August 1988 until May 1991, Irish soldiers were deployed, under the UN force UNIIMOG, on the border between Iraq and Iran to supervise the withdrawal of both side's troops back to within their respective borders after the end of the Iran–Iraq War. The Irish provided 177 of the 400 UNIIMOG personnel involved with the mission. The mission came to an end in 1991, when Iran and Iraq completed the withdrawal of their troops. A small number of Irish observers were also stationed in Kuwait since from 1991 to 2002 as part of UNIKOM.
Somalia and Eritrea
In 1993, 100 troops forming a transport company were deployed in Somalia, as part of UNOSOM II peace-enforcing mission. In December 2001, 221 Irish soldiers were also sent to Eritrea as part of UNMEE, and were tasked with the defence of the UN headquarters there.
Bosnia and Kosovo
In 1997 an Irish Army Military Police unit and some other troops were deployed to Bosnia as part of SFOR (1995–2005) and EUFOR (December 2005 to present). The MP company was based in SFOR HQ in Sarajevo and policed the 8,000 SFOR troops based in the area. From 1999 until 2010, a Company of Irish troops were stationed in Kosovo as part of KFOR.
In 1999, Irish officers were sent to East Timor as part of the UNAMET observer group (Timorese Independence Referendum). Later in the year, a platoon of Rangers (1 Ircon) were sent as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping force. The Army Ranger Wing (the Army's special forces unit) were deployed in East Timor alongside the Australian Special Air Service Regiment for a four-month tour. This marked the second time that the Army's elite force were officially deployed operationally outside of the Irish state, the first being to Somalia in 1993. INTERFET handed over to UNTAET during 2 Ircon's tour in 2000. The third contingent to Timor (3 Ircon) marked a new departure for the Defence Forces, as all the infantry sections were drawn from the 2nd Infantry Battalion. Late 2000 saw the 12th Infantry supply 4 Ircon. Nine contingents in total were deployed including the 4 Infantry Battalion, 5 Infantry Battalion, 28 Infantry Battalion, 1 Cathlán Coisithe, and finally the 6 Infantry Battalion under UNMISET.
After November 2003, Irish troops were stationed in Liberia as part of UNMIL. The Liberian mission was the largest Irish overseas deployment since Lebanon and consisted of a single composite battalion. The UN force, UNMIL, was 15,000 strong and was charged with stabilising the country after the Second Liberian Civil War. The Irish troops were based in Camp Clara, near Monrovia and were tasked with acting as the Force Commander's "Quick Reaction Force" (QRF) in the Monrovia area. This meant the securing of key locations, conducting searches for illegally held weapons, patrolling and manning checkpoints on the main roads and providing security to civilians under threat of violence. The Irish deployment to Liberia was due to end in November 2006. However, at that time the deployment was extended for a further 6 months to May 2007. During the UNMIL deployment, a detachment of Irish Army Rangers successfully rescued a group of civilians being held hostage by renegade Liberian gunmen. Acting on intelligence, twenty heavily armed Rangers were dropped by helicopter, rescuing the hostages and capturing the rebel leader. In all the following battalions were involved in 2,745 cumulative missions under UNMIL:
- 90th Infantry Battalion (4th Western Brigade) - Nov 2003-May 2004
- 91st Infantry Battalion (2nd Eastern Brigade) - May 2004-Nov 2004
- 92nd Infantry Battalion (1st Southern Brigade) - Nov 2004-May 2005
- 93rd Infantry Battalion (4th Western Brigade) - May 2005-Nov 2005
- 94th Infantry Battalion (2nd Eastern Brigade) - Nov 2005-May 2006
- 95th Infantry Battalion (1st Southern Brigade) - May 2006-Nov 2006
- 96th Infantry Battalion (4th Western Brigade) - Nov 2006-May 2007
In August 2007, the Irish government announced that 200 Irish soldiers would be sent to support the United Nations effort as part of EUFOR Chad/CAR. As of 2008 500 troops had been deployed - 54 of whom were Irish Army Rangers. In announcing the mission, the Minister for Defence recognised the regional nature of the crisis, involving instability in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic. In accordance with their terms of reference, the deployment of Irish forces was confined to Chad. Ireland contributed the second largest contingent of soldiers to EUFOR Chad/CAR, after France, as part of the mission to establish peace in Chad and to protect refugees from neighbouring Darfur. The Irish soldiers conducted operations concerned with the delivery of humanitarian aid, protection of civilians, and ensuring the safety of UN personnel. There were a number of deployments to the mission, rotating every four months, with the final contingent completing their tour in May 2010:
- 97th Infantry Battalion - June 2008-Oct 2008
- 98th Infantry Battalion - Oct 2008-Jan 2009
- 99th Infantry Battalion - Jan 2009-May 2009
- 100th Infantry Battalion - May 2009-Oct 2009
- 101st Infantry Battalion - Oct 2009-Jan 2010
- 102nd Infantry Battalion - Jan 2010-May 2010
In 2013 the United Nations requested Ireland to deploy Peacekeepers as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan region of Syria. The 43 Infantry Group, comprising 115 personnel, deployed into Syria in September 2013. The group is tasked primarily to serve as the Force Mobile Reserve within the UNDOF Area of Responsibility.
At home, the Army was deployed to aid the Garda Síochána (the police force) along the border with Northern Ireland during the conflict known as the Troubles (1969–1998). In the early 1970s, it was suggested that the Army might cross the Border to protect the Irish nationalist community within Northern Ireland. This was never acted upon, although units were moved to the border region in 1969-70 during the Battle of the Bogside, in order to provide medical support to those wounded in the fighting.
Aid to the civil power
The Army's largest aid to the civil power role is its cash-in-transit escorts, with over 2000 missions carried out every year. All large shipments of cash within the State have been provided with armed military escorts since 1978. The Army provides 24-hour armed security at the maximum security Portlaoise Prison and also armed escort for the Prison Service transporting Ireland's most dangerous criminals.
As of 30 September 2013, 564 Defence Forces are serving in 14 different missions throughout the world including Lebanon (UNIFIL), Syria (UNDOF), Kosovo (KFOR), Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR BiH), Afghanistan (ISAF), Uganda (EUTM Somalia), Mali (EUTM Mali) and other observer and staff appointments to UN, EU and OSCE posts.
The largest deployments include:
- Lebanon (UNIFIL) 108 Battalion
- Syria (UNDOF) 43 Infantry Group
All enlisted members of the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) undergo 16 weeks recruit training, after which they become a 2 Star Private. They then undergo a further 12 weeks of advanced training, after which they pass-out as a 3 Star Private, Trooper or Gunner depending on their respective Corps. During this continuous 28 weeks of training they are required to live in barracks. The Army recruits both men and women. Female recruits receive the same training as their male counterparts as there are no restrictions on the appointments open to females in the army.
Recruit training includes foot drill, arms drill, field-craft, medical, radio operation, rifle marksmanship, unarmed combat, tactical and daily physical training (PT). During this stage of training they are also given weapons training on the Steyr Rifle, General Purpose Machine Gun and grenade.
On completion of recruit training, soldiers become 2 Star Privates and immediately begin 3 Star training. This includes more advanced training of everything covered by recruit training plus riot training, navigation, CBRN, helicopter drills, survival, FIBUA, live fire tactical training, etc. They are also receive further weapons training on the M203 Grenade Launcher and Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon.
Throughout their service, soldiers must complete courses to advance their skills and for promotion.
The Army has an establishment of 8,500 personnel and consists of a single division sized element made up of two brigades. Prior to 2012, the army was divided into three brigades, organised to be responsible for a geographical area of the country: Southern, Eastern and Western. Following budgetary decisions in 2011, the army was reorganised in late 2012 into two brigades, responsible respectively for the south and north. The training element of the army, the Defence Forces Training Centre, operates independently of the brigade structure.
The 1st Brigade is headquartered in Collins Barracks, Cork, and has an area of territorial responsibility which includes the counties of Carlow, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. Units of the 1st Brigade include:
- 1st Infantry Battalion (Galway)
- 3rd Infantry Battalion (Kilkenny)
- 12 Infantry Battalion (Limerick)
- 1st Artillery Regiment (Cork)
- 1st Cavalry Squadron (Cork)
- 1st Communication and Information Services Company (Cork)
- 1st Engineer Group (Cork)
- 1st Supply & Transport Group (Cork)
- 1st Ordnance Group (Cork)
- 1st Military Police Company (Cork)
The 2nd Brigade is headquartered in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin, and has an area of territorial responsibility which includes the counties of Cavan, Donegal, Dublin, Kildare, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, Westmeath and Wicklow. Units of the 2nd Brigade include:
- 6th Infantry Battalion (Athlone)
- 7th Infantry Battalion (Dublin)
- 27th Infantry Battalion (Dundalk)
- 28th Infantry Battalion (Ballyshannon)
- Gormanston Camp Infantry Company (Gormanston)
- 2nd Artillery Regiment (Athlone)
- 2nd Cavalry Squadron (Dublin)
- 2nd Communication and Information Services Company (Dublin)
- 2nd Engineer Group (Athlone)
- 2nd Supply & Transport Group (Athlone)
- 2nd Ordnance Group (Athlone)
- 2nd Military Police Company (Dublin)
Defence Forces Training Centre
In addition to the two brigades in the Army, there is also the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC). This element is responsible for providing professional training to the Irish Army through three separate colleges:
- Military College
- Combat Support College (Cavalry/Engineering/Signal Schools)
- Combat Service Support College (Transport/Ordnance/Military Police/Medical/Admin/Catering (in Dublin) & Physical Fitness Schools)
There are also several units located at the DFTC that are not part of the brigade structure:
- Operational Units
- Army Ranger Wing
- 1st Armoured Cavalry Squadron
- 1st Mechanised Infantry Company
- Support Units
- Supply and Services Unit
- Defence Force Logistics Base
- DFTC Military Police Company
The operational units fall under the direct command of the Defence Force HQ, and may be deployed either in support of brigade units or separately on any operation.
The Infantry Corps represent the largest component and are the operational troops of the Army. They must be prepared for tactical deployment in any location at short notice. In wartime this means that they will be among the frontline troops in the defence of the Irish state. In peacetime they can be seen daily performing operational duties in aid to the civil power such as providing escorts to cash, prisoner or explosive shipments, patrols of vital state installations and border patrols, including checkpoints.
The Artillery Corps provides fire support as required by infantry or armoured elements. The Corps was founded in 1924 and today consists of two main branches: Field Artillery and Air Defence. Between them, the two branches of the Corps provide several vital services;
- Fire support of Infantry or Armoured troops.
- Ground to low level air defence.
- Light field battery support to Irish overseas battalion.
- Aid to the civil power duties.
Each brigade has a single artillery regiment.
The Cavalry Corps is the army's armoured reconnaissance formation.
The responsibility for the procurement and maintenance of all ordnance equipment is vested in the Ordnance Corps and encompasses a spectrum of equipment ranging from anti-aircraft missiles and naval armament to the uniforms worn by military personnel. The corps is also responsible for the procurement of food and provision of commercial catering services. These tasks are of a technical nature and the corps personnel are appropriately qualified and with the expertise to afford technical evaluation of complete weapon systems, it also includes embracing weapons, ammunition, fire control instruments and night vision equipment. The Ordnance Corps provides improvised explosive device disposal within the state, in support of the Garda Síochána. The Corps must keep abreast of current developments in international terrorist devices and the equipment needed to counteract these devices. Courses are conducted for its own personnel and for students from the military and police of many other nations. Ordnance Corps personnel continue to serve in overseas missions and are an essential component of missions involving troops.
The Transport Corps is responsible for the procurement, management and maintenance of all soft skinned vehicles, and the maintenance of all armoured vehicles within the Defence Forces. It is also responsible for the driver training, testing, certification, maintenance of driving standards and provision of vehicle fuels, oils and lubricants. The Transport Corps provides heavy lift capability for the Defence Forces.
The Army Medical Corps has the responsibility of maintaining health and preventing disease in the Defence Forces and providing treatment of its sick and wounded. While these functions are of prime importance in time of war they also continue in peacetime. The Corps provides Dental as well as medical care for all personnel. The service provided includes surgery, physiotherapy and nursing. Their personnel have served in all the major UN missions providing medical and dental support. They also fill an important role in the provision of humanitarian assistance to the local civilian population giving medical aid in circumstances in which local medical services are unlikely to function adequately.
Military Police Corps
The Military Police (Irish language: Póilíní Airm , hence the nickname "PAs") are responsible for the prevention and investigation of offences, the enforcement of discipline and the general policing of the Defence Forces. In wartime, additional tasks include the provision of a traffic control organisation to allow rapid movement of military formations to their mission areas. Other wartime rules include control of prisoners of war and refugees. Traditionally, the Military Police have also had a considerable involvement at state and ceremonial occasions. In recent years the Military Police have been deployed in many UN missions (such as Iran and Iraq) and later in the former Yugoslavia (SFOR). They enjoy a very close working relationship with the Garda Síochána at national and local levels. The Gardaí assist in providing specialist police training to the Military Police in the field of crime investigation.
The CIS corps is a support corps responsible for installing, maintaining and operating telecommunications equipment and information systems.
The rank structure of the Irish Army is organised along standard military rank and command structures. These consist of the following ranks:
- 2 Star Private
- 3 Star Private/Trooper/Gunner/Signalman
- Company/Squadron/Battery Quartermaster Sergeant
- Company/Squadron/Battery Sergeant
- Battalion/Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
- Battalion/Regimental Sergeant Major
- Junior Cadet
- Senior Cadet
- Second Lieutenant
- Lieutenant Colonel
- Brigadier General
- Major General
- Lieutenant General
The Army has historically purchased and used weapons and equipment from other western countries, mainly from European nations and especially from Britain. Generally all equipment is of NATO standard design. Ireland has a very limited arms industry and rarely produces its own armaments.
In the beginning, the Army used the British-made Lee-Enfield .303 rifle, which would be the mainstay for many decades after independence. In the 1960s some modernisation came with the introduction of the Belgian made FN FAL 7.62 mm assault rifle.
Currently the standard weapon for an Irish Army soldier is the Austrian-made Steyr AUG 5.56 mm assault rifle (used in the other branches of the Defence Forces). The Steyr began to replace the older FAL in 1989.
Other weapons in use by the Army are the USP pistol, FN MAG machine gun, .5 M2 Browning machine gun, SRAAW AT4, FGM-148 Javelin Anti-tank guided missile, L118 105mm Howitzer, RBS 70 and RBS 90 Surface to Air Missile system.
The Army has historically preferred light armoured vehicles to the heavy armour types used by other European nations, and this preference continues today. The Army has purchased 80 Swiss made Mowag Piranha Armoured personnel carriers which have become the Army's primary vehicle in the Mechanized infantry role. These are equipped with 12.7 mm HMGs, or the Oto Melara 30 mm Autocannon. The army also has 27 RG Outrider light tactical armoured vehicles. The Army has no tanks as such but does have a variant of the FV101 Scorpion light armoured reconnaissance vehicle, with a 76.2 mm main gun.
- Modern weapons of the Irish Army
- Modern vehicles of the Irish Army
- Modern Irish Army Uniform
- Irish Defence Forces cap badge
- Defence Forces (Ireland)
- Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Irish Army
- Reserve Defence Forces
- Irish Army deafness claims
- General Michael Joe Costello
- Colonel Daniel Bryan
- Colonel James Fitzmaurice (pilot)
- Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2011
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- "EU Military Operation in Eastern Chad and North Eastern Central African Republic (EUFOR Tchad/RCA)". consilium.europa.eu. March 2009. p. 1. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/Final%20FACTSHEET%20EUFOR%20TCHAD-RCA%20version%209_EN.pdf. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- RTÉ News - 50 Irish troops arrive in Chad - 21 February 2008
- Phelan, Shane (20 November 2008). "New peace mission on cards". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/world-news/africa/new-peace-mission-on-cards-1546136.html.
- Irish Examiner - Irish troops begin return from Chad - 19 May 2010
- Irish Independent - Irish troops returning from Chad - 19 May 2010
- http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/takes/dail2013100100078?opendocument#Overseas Missions
- Defence Forces - Army
- Paul O'Brien (12 July 2012). "Move to 'save' Western Brigade". Official Defence Forces Website. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/move-to-save-western-brigade-200452.html. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- Department of Defence press release, 17 July 2012
- DON LAVERY – 1 May 2013 (2013-05-01). "Veteran armoured car fleet retired". Independent.ie. http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/veteran-armoured-car-fleet-retired-29235903.html. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
- Irish Army Home Page
- Unofficial (Irish Army Reserve 62 Infantry Battalion)
- UNIFIL site with Pictures & Stories from Irelands Involvement with UNIFIL.
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