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, 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
participates in the European Union Battlegroups. The Air Corps and
Naval Service support the
Army in carrying out its roles.
1 Roles of the Army
2.1 Beginning of the Army
2.2 Civil War period
2.3 National Army
2.4 The Emergency
Cyprus and the Sinai
Iran and Iraq
Somalia and Eritrea
3.6 Bosnia and Kosovo
3.7 East Timor
4.1 Border duties
4.2 Aid to the civil power
5 Current overseas deployments
7.2 Defence Forces Training Centre
8.1 Infantry Corps
8.3 Cavalry Corps
8.4 Engineer Corps
8.5 Ordnance Corps
8.6 Transport Corps
8.7 Medical Corps
8.8 Military Police Corps
8.9 Communications & IT Corps
9 Rank structure
9.1 Officer Ranks
9.2 Other Rank Insignia
12 See also
14 External links
Roles of the Army
The roles of the
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
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,
Beginning of the Army
The Defence Forces, including the Army, trace their origins to the
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 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
Dublin Guard) assumed its new role as the first unit of the
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
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
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 original IRA and its predecessor,
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.
Civil War period
Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars pictured during the Civil War
Irish Civil War
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.
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
the First World War. W.R.E. Murphy, a second-in-command of the
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.
taken from anti-Treaty IRA units during the Battle of
Dublin in July
1922. The anti-Treaty IRA were also dislodged from
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.
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.
Main article: National
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
Army officers were being treated better than they
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.
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
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.
Volunteer Force recruitment poster, 1930s
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 received an official amnesty and apology from the government
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. 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.
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. 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
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
ONUC troops (36 Bn) man a position over the Elizabeth road
tunnel during the Congo Crisis, December 1961
(Image: Defence Forces)
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.
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
Cyprus at short notice to serve in the
Sinai desert between Egypt
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.
Main articles: Multinational Force in
Lebanon and William O'Callaghan
Irish troops serving with
UNIFIL in 2013.
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
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
Army (an Israeli-backed Christian
militia). Private Stephen Griffin, of the 46th Irish
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
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
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
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
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
UNIFIL serving alongside Finnish Armed Forces as part of a
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
UNIFIL bringing Ireland’s contribution to this mission
to 340 personnel. 
Iran and Iraq
From August 1988 until May 1991, Irish soldiers were deployed under
the UN force UNIIMOG, on the border between
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
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.
Somalia and Eritrea
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
Battalion (4th Western Brigade) - Nov 2003-May 2004
Battalion (2nd Eastern Brigade) - May 2004-Nov 2004
Battalion (1st Southern Brigade) - Nov 2004-May 2005
Battalion (4th Western Brigade) - May 2005-Nov 2005
Battalion (2nd Eastern Brigade) - Nov 2005-May 2006
Battalion (1st Southern Brigade) - May 2006-Nov 2006
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
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:
Battalion - June 2008-Oct 2008
Battalion - Oct 2008-Jan 2009
Battalion - Jan 2009-May 2009
Battalion - May 2009-Oct 2009
Battalion - Oct 2009-Jan 2010
Battalion - Jan 2010-May 2010
In 2013 the
United Nations asked
Ireland to send peacekeepers as part
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the
Golan region of Syria, to try to contain the
Syrian Civil War
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
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
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. Nevertheless, as of late 2016, 138 Irish
troops remain deployed in the region under UNDOF.
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 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.
Current overseas deployments
As of 1 December 2015, 493 Defence Force personnel are serving in 12
different missions throughout the world including
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:
Lebanon (UNIFIL) 51 Infantry Group
Syria (UNDOF) 50 Infantry Group
Two soldiers undergoing sniper training
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training
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
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
Throughout their service, soldiers must complete Trained Soldier
Specialist Training courses to advance their skills and for promotion.
Army has an establishment of 7,310 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 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.
Structure of the Irish Army
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,
Waterford and Wexford. Units of the 1st Brigade include:
Artillery Regiment (Cork)
1 Brigade Cavalry Squadron (Cork)
1 Brigade Communication and Information Services Company (Cork)
1 Brigade Engineer Group (Cork)
1 Brigade Supply & Transport Group (Cork)
1 Brigade Ordnance Group (Cork)
1 Brigade 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
Artillery Regiment (Athlone)
2 Brigade Cavalry Squadron (Dublin)
2 Brigade Communication and Information Services Company (Dublin)
2 Brigade Engineer Group (Athlone)
2 Brigade Supply & Transport Group (Athlone)
2 Brigade Ordnance Group (Athlone)
2 Brigade Military Police Company (Dublin)
Defence Forces Training Centre
Main article: Defence Forces Training Centre
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
Combat Support College (Cavalry/Engineering/Signal Schools)
Combat Service Support College (Transport/Ordnance/Military
Police/Medical/Admin/Catering (in Dublin) & Physical Fitness
There are several units located at the DFTC that are not part of the
Army Ranger Wing
1 Armoured Cavalry Squadron
1 Mechanised Infantry Company
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.
Army Reserve (Ireland)
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
Main article: Infantry Corps (Ireland)
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.
L118 light gun
L118 light gun crewed by the
Artillery Corps (
Artillery Corps (Ireland)
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
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.
Cavalry Corps MOWAG Piranha
Main article: Cavalry Corps (Ireland)
The Cavalry Corps is the army's armoured reconnaissance formation.
Main article: Engineer Corps (Ireland)
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.
A member of an Irish
Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team
Main article: Ordnance Corps (Ireland)
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.
Main article: Transport Corps (Ireland)
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.
Main article: Medical Corps (Ireland)
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.
Military Police Corps
Main article: Military Police Corps (Ireland)
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.
Communications & IT Corps
Main article: CIS Corps (Ireland)
The Communications and Information Services (CIS) Corps is a support
corps responsible for installing, maintaining and operating
telecommunications equipment and information systems.
Main article: Irish Defence Forces rank insignia
The rank structure of the Irish
Army is organised along standard
military rank and command structures. These consist of the following
Equivalent NATO Code
English language equivalent
Other Rank Insignia
Equivalent NATO Code
Saighdiúr Singil, 3 Réalta
Saighdiúr Singil, 2 Réalta
Battalion/Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
Company Quartermaster Sergeant
Private/Gunner/Trooper 3 Star
Private 2 Star
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Army parade (march past) with
Steyr AUG service rifles in service
Main article: Modern weapons of the Irish Army
Army has historically purchased and used weapons and equipment
from other western countries, mainly from European nations.[citation
Ireland has a very limited arms industry and rarely produces
its own armaments.
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, FN MAG
machine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, Accuracy International Arctic
Warfare sniper rifles,
FGM-148 Javelin Anti-tank guided
L118 105mm Howitzer,
RBS 70 Surface to Air Missile
The RG Outrider, in use with the Irish
Army in various roles
Main article: Modern vehicles of the Irish Army
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,
Oto Melara 30 mm Autocannon. .The
Army operates a
number of RG Outriders. As of 2009, the army operated the FV101
Scorpion light tank.
Modern weapons of the Irish Army
Modern vehicles of the Irish Army
Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Irish Army
Irish Defence Forces cap badge
Defence Forces (Ireland)
Reserve Defence Forces
Army deafness claims
General Michael Joe Costello
Colonel Daniel Bryan
RACO - Commissioned Officers
PDFORRA - Permanent Enlistees
RDFRA - Reserve Enlistees
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