Cap badge of the Army
|Size||7,310 permanent personnel (Jul 2016) |
1,840 Reserve (Jan 2019)
|Part of||Defence Forces|
|Website||Defence Forces - Army|
|Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces||Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM|
|GOC 1st Brigade||Brigadier General Patrick Flynn|
|GOC 2nd Brigade||Brigadier General Howard Berney|
|GOC DFTC||Brigadier General Joe Mulligan|
The Irish Army, known simply as the Army (Irish : an tArm), is the land component of the Defence Forces of Ireland. As of May 2016, approximately 7,300 men and women serve in the Irish Army on a permanent basis and 1,600 active Reservists , divided into two geographically organised brigades. As well as maintaining its primary roles of defending the State and internal security within the State, since 1958 the Army has had a continuous presence in peacekeeping missions around the world. The Army also participates in the European Union Battlegroups. The Air Corps and Naval Service support the Army in carrying out its roles.
Irish is a member of the Goidelic (Gaelic) language branch of the Celtic languages originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.
The Defence Forces, are the military of Ireland. They encompass the Army, Air Corps, Naval Service and Reserve Defence Forces.
Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.8 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.
The roles of the Army are:
An Garda Síochána, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí or "the Guards", is the police service of the Republic of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace". It is distinguished from peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peace enforcement although the United Nations does acknowledge that all activities are "mutually reinforcing" and that overlap between them is frequent in practice.
The Defence Forces, including the Army, trace their origins to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the guerrilla 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 Irish Republican Army (IRA) are paramilitary movements in Ireland in the 20th and the 21st century dedicated to Irish republicanism, the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic from British rule and free to form their own government. The original Irish Republican Army formed in 1917 from those Irish Volunteers who did not enlist in the British Army during World War I, members of the Irish Citizen Army and others. Irishmen formerly in the British Army returned to Ireland and fought in the Irish War of Independence. During the Irish War of Independence it was the army of the Irish Republic, declared by Dáil Éireann in 1919. Some Irish people dispute the claims of more recently created organisations that insist that they are the only legitimate descendants of the original IRA, often referred to as the "Old IRA". The playwright and former IRA member Brendan Behan once said that the first issue on any Irish organisation's agenda was "the split". For the IRA, that has often been the case. The first split came after the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, with supporters of the Treaty forming the nucleus of the National Army of the newly created Irish Free State, while the anti-treaty forces continued to use the name Irish Republican Army. After the end of the Irish Civil War (1922–23), the IRA was around in one form or another for forty years, when it split into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA in 1969. The latter then had its own breakaways, namely the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, each claiming to be the true successor of the Army of the Irish Republic.
The Irish War of Independence or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army and British forces: the British Army, along with the quasi-military Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and its paramilitary forces the Auxiliaries and Ulster Special Constabulary (USC). It was an escalation of the Irish revolutionary period into warfare.
The Provisional Government of Ireland was the provisional government for the administration of Southern Ireland from 16 January 1922 to 5 December 1922. It was a transitional administration for the period between the ratifying of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of the Irish Free State. Its legitimacy was disputed by the Anti-Treaty delegates to Dáil Éireann.
The Provisional Government was set up on 16 January 1922 to assume power in the new 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 [ citation needed ] by the Anglo-Irish Treaty which established the Irish Free State, and favoured upholding the revolutionary Irish Republic which had been established in 1919.
The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.
The Dublin Guard was a unit of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and then of the Irish National Army in the ensuing Civil War.
Beggars Bush Barracks was a British Army barracks located at Beggars Bush in Dublin, Ireland.
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 original IRA and its predecessor, the Irish Volunteers of the mid-1910s. In July 1922, Dáil Éireann authorised raising a force of 35,000 men; by May 1923 this had grown to 58,000. The National Army lacked the expertise necessary to train a force of that size, such that approximately one-fifth of its officers and half of its soldiers were Irish ex-servicemen of the British Army, who brought considerable experience to it.
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence and accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire.
The original Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought a guerrilla war against British rule in Ireland in the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1921. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921, the IRA in the 26 counties that were to become the Irish Free State split between supporters and opponents of the Treaty. The anti-Treatyites, sometimes referred to by Free State forces as Irregulars, continued to use the name Irish Republican Army (IRA) or in Irish Óglaigh na hÉireann, as did the organisation in Northern Ireland which originally supported the pro-Treaty side. Óglaigh na hÉireann was also adopted as the name of the pro-Treaty National Army, and remains the official legal title of the Irish Defence Forces. This article deals with the anti-Treaty IRA that fought against the Irish Free State in the Irish Civil War, and with its successors up to 1969, when the IRA split again.
Óglaigh na hÉireann, abbreviated ÓÉ, is an Irish-language idiom that can be translated variously as soldiers of Ireland, warriors of Ireland, volunteers of Ireland or Irish volunteers. In traditional Gaelic script, it is written Óglaıġ na hÉıreann.
The Irish Civil War broke out on 28 June 1922. The pro-Treaty Sinn Féin party had won an election on 16 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.
Sinn Féin is a left-wing Irish republican political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The Four Courts is Ireland's main courts building, located on Inns Quay in Dublin. The Four Courts is the location of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Dublin Circuit Court. Until 2010 the building also housed the Central Criminal Court; this is now located in the Criminal Courts of Justice.
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. The Four Courts and O'Connell Street were 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 troops 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.
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. 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 who returned in 1945 were summarily dismissed from the armed forces and disqualified from any form of state-funded employment for seven years.These soldiers later 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). The expansion was undertaken in the face of 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.
For the duration of the war, Ireland, while formally neutral, tacitly supported the Allies in several ways. For example, the Donegal Corridor allowed British military aircraft based in Fermanagh to fly through Irish airspace to the Atlantic, thereby greatly increasing their operational range.G2, the Army's intelligence section, played a role in the detection and arrest of German spies, such as Hermann Görtz.
Since Ireland joined the United Nations in 1955, the Army has been deployed on many peacekeeping missions. The first of these 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 (see List of Irish military casualties overseas ).
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 ("A" Company, 35th Battalion) 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 (a Fouga CM.170 Magister), equipped for ground attack. 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 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.
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.
In April 1980, three Irish soldiers were killed in an episode of violence near At Tiri in Southern Lebanon. On 16 April 1980, soldiers attempting to set up a checkpoint near At Tiri were attacked by members of the South Lebanon Army (an Israeli-backed Christian militia). Private Stephen Griffin, of the 46th Irish Battalion was shot in the head and died. Two days later, a party of three Irish soldiers, an American officer, a French officer and two journalists were travelling to a UN post near the Israeli border when they were intercepted by members of the S.L.A.. Private John O'Mahony from Killarney, County Kerry was shot and wounded and his two comrades Privates Thomas Barrett from Cork and Derek Smallhorne from Dublin were driven away. Both men were found shot dead nearby, with their bodies showing signs of torture.
Another Israeli invasion in 1982 forced the PLO out of southern Lebanon, and occupied the area. The following eighteen years until 2000 saw prolonged guerrilla 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 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 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 number of Irish personnel remained in service at UNIFIL HQ in Southern Lebanon.
Irish battalions returned to Lebanon in 2011 - initially with roughly 480 troops deployed in the region.This was reduced to approximately 330 troops in May 2013, and further to 180 troops in November 2013. As of May 2016, there were 194 Irish soldiers deployed to UNIFIL serving alongside Finnish Armed Forces as part of a joint Battalion which is currently under Finnish command. Ireland takes over command of the Battalion from Finland in November 2016 at which time an additional Company of some 150 personnel will be deployed to UNIFIL bringing Ireland's contribution to this mission to 340 personnel.
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 sides' forces 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 stationed in Kuwait from 1991 to 2002 as part of UNIKOM.
In 1993, 100 troops forming a transport company were deployed in Somalia, as part of the UNOSOM II peace-enforcing mission. In December 2001, 221 Irish soldiers were sent to Eritrea as part of UNMEE, and were tasked with the defence of the UN headquarters there.
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 was stationed in Kosovo as part of KFOR.
In July 1999, Irish officers were sent to East Timor as part of the UNAMET observer group (Timorese Independence Referendum). In October, a platoon of Rangers (1 Ircon) from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) were sent as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping force after the Referendum.The ARW platoon served in the reconnaissance company of the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Regiment (1 RNZIR) Battalion Group for a four-month tour. INTERFET handed over to UNTAET during ARW 2 Ircon's tour in 2000. The third contingent to East Timor (3 Ircon) in June 2000 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 4 Infantry Battalion, 5 Infantry Battalion, 28 Infantry Battalion, 1 Cathlán Coisithe, and finally the 6 Infantry Battalion under UNMISET until May 2004.
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, freeing the hostages and capturing the rebel leader. In all the following battalions were involved in 2,745 cumulative missions under UNMIL:
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:
In 2013 the United Nations asked Ireland to send peacekeepers as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan region of Syria, to try to contain the Syrian Civil War from spreading into Israel. The 43 Infantry Group, consisting of 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.The Irish peacekeepers were attacked by Syrian rebels on 29 November 2013. The Irish convoy came under small arms fire and a Mowag APC later struck a land mine, damaging the vehicle, when driving out of the attack. The Irish returned fire with 12.7mm (.50 calibre) heavy machine guns mounted on their vehicles before the rebels retreated.
The Irish were involved in a combat mission in August 2014 after 44 Filipino UN troops were captured by the rebel militia Al Nusra. Some of the UN troops managed to escape and an armoured escort from the Irish 44th Infantry Group escorted the Filipino soldiers to safety.Fire was exchanged with heavy machine guns but there were no casualties on the UN side. The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs stated he would withdraw the Irish contingent from Golan unless guarantees could be given about their safety. '"We don't want to see Irish troops or the UN contingent being drawn into a Syrian civil war"', he said. Irish troops were withdrawn into Israeli occupied Golan in 2014. Nevertheless, as of late 2016, 138 Irish troops remained deployed in the region under UNDOF. In late 2018 the UN contingent returned to the Syria side of the de facto border after Syrian government forces took Daraa and Quneitra from rebel forces in the 2018 Southern Syria offensive.
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.
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 armed escorts for the Prison Service transporting Ireland's most dangerous criminals. The Central Bank of Ireland had the Government put in place contingency plans to provide armed Defence Force security for major Irish banks over public order fears if a cash shortage was triggered at the height of the 2008/2009 financial crisis.
As of 1 December 2015, 493 Defence Force personnel are serving in 12 different missions throughout the world including Lebanon (UNIFIL), Syria (UNDOF), Middle East (UNTSO), Kosovo (KFOR), German-led Battle Group 2016 and other observer and staff appointments to UN, EU, OSCE and PfP posts.The largest deployments include:
All enlisted members of the Army undergo 29 weeks of training in order to become a fully trained infantry soldier. The first 17 weeks is 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 29 weeks of training they are required to live in barracks. The Army recruits both men and women.
Recruit training includes foot drill, arms drill, field-craft, medical, radio operation, rifle marksmanship, unarmed combat, counter-IED, 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, ATCP training, live fire tactical training, etc. They also receive further weapons training on the M203 Grenade Launcher and Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon.
Throughout their service, soldiers must complete Trained Soldier Specialist Training courses to advance their skills and for promotion.
The Army has an establishment of 7,310personnel 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 State: Southern, Eastern and Western. Following budgetary decisions in 2011, the army was reorganised in late 2012 into a two brigades structure. 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:
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:
In addition to the two brigades in the Army, there is the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC). This element is responsible for providing professional training to the Irish Army through three separate colleges:
There are several units located at the DFTC that are not part of the brigade structure:
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 Army Reserve (AR) (Irish : Cúltaca an Airm) is the second line reserve of the Irish Army, the land component of the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF). The Army Reserve is a part-time, voluntary organisation which was established on 1 October 2005 to replace and reorganise the previous reserve organisation, and to improve training and courses similar to those of the Regular Army. In late 2015, there were 2,188 active personnel, with plans to increase this to 3,869 Army Reservists.
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.[ citation needed ] Between them, the two branches of the Corps provide several vital services;
Each brigade has a single artillery regiment.[ citation needed ]
The Cavalry Corps is the army's armoured reconnaissance formation.
The Engineer Corps is the combat engineering unit of the Defence Forces. The Engineer Corps is responsible for all military engineering matters across the Defence Forces.
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,[ clarification needed ] 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. Courses are conducted for its own personnel and for students from the military and police of 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 procurement, management and maintenance of soft skinned vehicles, and maintenance of armoured vehicles. It is also responsible for the driving standards, training and certification, as well as providing vehicle fuels and lubricants, and certain logistics - such as heavy lift capabilities.
The Medical Corps is responsible for promoting health and treating sick or wounded personnel, and has provided medical and dental support in all the Army's main UN missions.As with similar branches in other militaries, they also sometimes provide humanitarian assistance to local civilian populations - by giving medical aid where local health services are not functioning adequately.
The Military Police (Irish : 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 had an involvement at state and ceremonial occasions. In recent years the Military Police have been deployed in UN missions (such as Iran and Iraq) and later in the former Yugoslavia (SFOR). The Gardaí assist in providing specialist police training to the Military Police in the field of crime investigation.
The Communications and Information Services (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:
|Equivalent NATO Code||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF-Cdt|
|Leifteanant-Ghinearál||Maor-Ghinearál||Briogáidire-Ghinearál||Coirnéal||Leifteanant-Choirnéal||Ceannfort||Captaen||Leifteanant||Dara Leifteanant||Dalta Sinsir||Dalta Sóisir|
|English language equivalent||Lieutenant-General||Major-General||Brigadier-General||Colonel||Lieutenant-Colonel||Commandant||Captain||Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant||Senior Cadet||Junior Cadet|
|Abbreviation||Lt Gen||Maj Gen||Brig Gen||Col||Lt Col||Comdt||Capt||Lt||2nd Lt||Sr Cdt||Jr Cdt|
|Equivalent NATO Code||OR-9||OR-8||OR-7||OR-6||OR-5||OR-4||OR-3||OR-2||OR-1|
|Maor-Sáirsint Cathláin/Reisiminte||Ceathrúsháirsint Cathláin/Reisiminte||Sáirsint Complachta||Ceathrúsháirsint Complacht||Sáirsint||Ceannaire||Saighdiúr Singil, 3 Réalta||Saighdiúr Singil, 2 Réalta||Earcach|
|English Equivalent||Battalion/Regimental Sergeant Major||Battalion/Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant||Company Sergeant||Company Quartermaster Sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Private/Gunner/Trooper 3 Star||Private 2 Star||Recruit|
|Abbreviation||BSM/RSM||BQMS/RQMS||BS/CS/SS||BQ/CQ/SQ||Sgt||Cpl||Pte/Gnr/Tpr 3*||Pte 2*||Rec|
The Army has historically purchased and used weapons and equipment from other western countries, mainly from European nations.[ citation needed ] Ireland has a very limited arms industry and rarely produces its own armaments.[ citation needed ]
From its establishment the Army used the British-made Lee–Enfield .303 rifle, which would be the mainstay for many decades. In the 1960s some modernisation came with the introduction of the Belgian-made FN FAL 7.62 mm battle rifle. Since 1989 the service rifle for the Army is the Austrian-made Steyr AUG 5.56 mm assault rifle (used by all branches of the Defence Forces).
Other weapons in use by the Army include the USP 9mm pistol, M203 grenade launcher,FN MAG machine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, Accuracy International Arctic Warfare sniper rifles, AT4 SRAAW, FGM-148 Javelin Anti-tank guided missile, L118 105mm Howitzer, , and RBS 70 Surface to Air Missile system.
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 operates a number of RG Outriders. As of 2009, the army operated the FV101 Scorpion light tank.
The structure of the British Army is broadly similar to that of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, in that the four-star (general-equivalent) field commands have been eliminated. Army Headquarters is located in Andover, Hampshire. As the top-level budget holder, this organisation is responsible for providing forces at operational readiness for employment by the Permanent Joint Headquarters. There is a Commander Field Army and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command.
The Finnish Army is the land forces branch of the Finnish Defence Forces. Today's Army is divided into six branches: the infantry, field artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, engineers, signals, and materiel troops. The commander of the Finnish Army since 1 August 2017 is Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko.
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of Germany. The present-day German Army was founded in 1955 as part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr together with the Marine and the Luftwaffe. As of 28 February 2019, the German Army had a strength of 62,194 soldiers.
The Royal Danish Army is the land-based branch of the Danish Defence, together with the Danish Home Guard. For the last decade, the Royal Danish Army has undergone a massive transformation of structures, equipment and training methods, abandoning its traditional role of anti-invasion defence, and instead focusing on out of area operations by, among other initiatives, reducing the size of the conscripted and reserve components and increasing the active component, changing from 60% support structure and 40% operational capability, to 60% combat operational capability and 40% support structure. When fully implemented, the Danish Army will be capable of deploying 1,500 troops permanently on three different continents continuously, or 5,000 troops for a shorter period of time, in international operations without any need for extraordinary measures such as parliamentary approval of a war funding bill.
The Army Reserve (AR) is the reserve land component of the Irish Defence Forces. It is the second line reserve of the Irish Army. The Army Reserve involves part-time military service, and is one of two elements of the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF), the other element being the Naval Service Reserve (NSR).
The Army Ranger Wing (ARW) is the special operations force of the Irish Defence Forces, the military of Ireland. A branch of the Irish Army, it also selects personnel from the Naval Service and Air Corps. It serves at the behest of the Defence Forces and Government of Ireland, operating internally and overseas, and reports directly to the Chief of Staff. The ARW was established in 1980 with the primary role of counter terrorism and evolved to both special operations and counter terrorism roles from 2000 after the end of conflict in Northern Ireland. The unit is based in the Curragh Camp, County Kildare. The 2015 White Paper on Defence announced that the strength of the Wing would be considerably increased.
The Royal Netherlands Army is the land forces element of the military of the Netherlands.
The Italian Army is the land-based component of the Italian Armed Forces of the Italian Republic. The army's history dates back to the unification of Italy in the 1850s and 1860s. The army fought in colonial engagements in China, Libya, Northern Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, Abyssinia before World War II and in World War II in Albania, Greece, North Africa, Russia and Italy itself. During the Cold War, the army prepared itself to defend against a Warsaw Pact invasion from the east. Since the end of the Cold War, the army has seen extensive peacekeeping service and combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter, recently deployed in UN missions. The headquarters of the Army General Staff are located in Rome, at the back of the Presidential Palace. The army is an all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel.
16 Air Assault Brigade is a formation of the British Army based in Colchester in the county of Essex. It is the Army's rapid response airborne formation and is the only brigade in the British Army capable of delivering Air Manoeuvre, Air Assault and Airborne operations.
The Portuguese Army is the land component of the Armed Forces of Portugal and is also its largest branch. It is charged with the defence of Portugal, in co-operation with other branches of the Armed Forces. It is one of the oldest armies in the world, with its origins going back to the 12th century.
Marines, also known as naval infantry, are typically an infantry force that specializes in the support of naval and army operations at sea and on land and air, as well as the execution of their own operations. In many countries, the marines are an integral part of that state's navy. In others, it is a separate organization altogether, such as in the United States, where the Marine Corps falls under the US Department of the Navy, yet it operates independently. Marines can also fall under a country's army like the Troupes de marine and Givati Brigade.
The history of the Australian Army dates back to colonial forces, prior to the Federation of Australia in 1901. Some of the colonial forces, which served the states of Australia at the time, were gradually united into federal units between 1899 and 1903; thus forming the beginning of the Australian Army. The colonial armies were officially united as the Commonwealth Military Forces in the Defence Act of 1903. Since then the Australian Army as an organization has changed to suit to needs of the nation; with particular changes occurring during, and following, the World Wars, Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf War. In 1916 the title Australian Military Forces was adopted and remained its official name until 1980, after which it became known as the Australian Army.
The Syrian Army, officially the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), is the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is the dominant military service of the four uniformed services, controlling the most senior posts in the armed forces, and has the greatest manpower, approximately 80 percent of the combined services. The Syrian Army originated in local military forces formed by the French after World War I, after France obtained a mandate over the region. It officially came into being in 1945, before Syria obtained full independence the following year.
The Spanish Armed Forces are in charge of guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defender of its territorial integrity and the constitutional order, according to the functions entrusted in the Constitution of 1978. These are formations by: the Army, the Air Force, the Spanish Armada, the Royal Guard and the Military Emergency Unit, as well as the so-called Common Corps.
The 3rd Infantry Battalion is a unit of the Irish Army infantry corps. The battalion traces its history back to 1923, when the garrisons of several towns in the north-west of Ireland were ordered to amalgamate and form the 3rd Infantry Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was one of five Battalions in the army at the start of the Emergency, when it was moved into the newly formed 5th Brigade, along with the 16th and 25th Infantry Battalions. During the Emergency it was responsible for defending the southeast of the country from possible invasion and regularly carried out training exercises.
The Kenya Army is the land arm of the Kenya Defence Forces.
The Ordnance Corps (ORD) is a combat support corps of the Irish Army, a branch of the Defence Forces, that has logistical and operational responsibility for military ordnance in Ireland. The logistical role of the Army Ordnance Corps is to provide technical support to the Defence Forces for the procurement, storage, distribution, inspection, maintenance, repair and disposal of all items of ordnance equipment. The operational role of the Ordnance Corps is to train personnel for and provide the state's bomb disposal capability.
Michael Beary is an Irish Army Major general and current Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) appointed May 2016.
The Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) is the principal training centre for the Irish Army and other branches of the Irish Defence Forces, headquartered at the Curragh Camp that serves to provide education and training to recruits and officers. The DFTC also encompasses Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow which is the primary artillery and anti-tank firing range for the army. DFTC is home to 2,000 military personnel.
the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 31 May 2016 [..] was 9,137 personnel, comprising 7,310 Army personnel, 733 Air Corps personnel and 1,094 Naval Service personnel
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