While the Irish Army have become well known internationally as a peace keeping force, with tours recently in Chad, Kosovo and a new tour to Lebanon starting in May 2011 , the Defence Forces also play a hugely important role in the lives of Irish citizens. MerrionStreet.ie decided to look at their role at home, speaking with members of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service about their day-to-day duties.
An essential duty of the Army is to have Bomb Disposal Teams on hand to deal with potentially lethal threats from explosive devices and dangerous chemicals. Army Bomb Disposal teams responded to 198 callouts last year.
The Army also mans the State's Vital Installations every day of the year, and the Elite Army Ranger Wing is standby 24/7 for crisis situations at home or abroad.
Army members also conduct Cash in Transit security operations -2,100 last year - as well as 174 high security prisoner escorts.
Below you can view the interviews conducted by MerrionStreet.ie with Army officers about their work at home.
While our Navy fleet is one of the smallest in the EU with 8 ships, it is responsible for one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in Europe. The fleet is responsible for defence of the State, but it also provides fishery protection and patrols some 132, 000 square miles off our coast, almost four times the land mass of Ireland. This is approximately 15% of Europe’s fisheries. The ships also play a pivotal role in Ireland’s fight against drugs, as part of the Joint Task Force. The Naval Service was involved in preventing nearly €1.6 billion worth of drugs coming into the country in the last four years.
Below you can view interviews conducted by MerrionStreet.ie on board the LE Roisin while it was docked in Dublin recently, including a tour of the control room.
The Air Corps flew almost 2,300 missions last year, including 69 Air Ambulance Missions, often involving the transportation of critically ill patients between medical facilities in Ireland and the UK for vital live-saving treatment. The Air Corps also conducts Maritime Patrols in conjuction with the Naval Service, as well as flying the Garda Air Support Unit (GASU) and providing “top cover” for security operations.
Below you can view the MerrionStreet.ie interviews with Air Corps officers on their duties for Maritime Patrol and Air Ambulance services.
For more information on the Defence Forces visit www.military.ie.