Post Emergency Years 1946 - 1960

At the end of the Emergency the strength of the Defence Forces was reduced to an establishment of 12,500. The Regular Army was now composed of three Brigades, one in each Command. By March 1947 strength had dropped to 8,803. To capitalise on the Emergency experience An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúl (FCÁ) replaced the Local Defence Force.

The declaration of a Republic in April 1949 saw no change however to the government’s defence policy. Poor conditions and lack of equipment led to a period of stagnation that remained until the onset of overseas service.

In December 1956 the IRA Border Campaign got underway and concentrated on attacks on British Army barracks and RUC stations. In response, elements of the Defence Forces were moved to the border. By March 1962 the campaign had ended.

In 1959 the FCÁ was integrated with the Regular Army. Six Brigades of mixed Regular and FCÁ units, each with only one Regular Infantry Battalion were established.

Ireland became a member of the United Nations in 1955 and in 1958 sent military observers on a UN mission to the Middle East (UNOGIL). This was the beginning of the Defence Forces’ involvement in overseas service, which continues to this day.

The Badge Design

The Badge design (common to all Corps and Services and all orders of dress) is derived from the badge of the Irish Volunteers and was designed by Professor Eoin MacNeill, Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers. This badge was originally adopted by the Irish Volunteers in October 1914. [Read more]