Sat 30 Dec 2017 - 2017 the Year in Review.

The Defence Forces were deployed on a broad range of defence and security operations domestically in 2017, while also deploying over 1400 personnel on UN mandated Peace Support Operations in 13 countries around the world.

Below is a snapshot of some of the highlights from Defence Forces activities this year that gives a flavour of the range of activities undertaken by the Defence Forces in 2017.

*Statistics quoted are provisional to date and are subject to finalisation in the 2017 Annual Report which will be published in early 2018.

Domestic Operations

Defence Forces deployed on a range of Aid to Civil Power & Aid to the Civil Authority operations on a daily basis supporting An Garda Síochána, HSE, and Local Authorities etc. Some examples of these activities are:

The Army conducted over 260 Aid to the Civil Power Operations in support of An Garda Síochána involving Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Bomb Squad) call outs, Prisoner Escorts, Explosive Escorts, major Cash Escorts and Engineers Specialist Search Operations.

Members of the Defence Forces continue to provide a permanent armed guard at Ireland’s only maximum security prison, Portlaoise Prison.

Contributed personnel and expertise supporting the Department of Communications. Climate Action and Environment National Cyber Security Centre.

Over 750 personnel, including the Engineer Specialist Search Teams, were deployed to assist in various searches.

Approximately 750 personnel were deployed to assist civil authorities during multiple operations, including combating gorse fires, severe flooding in Donegal and Portlaoise and in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia.

Contributed personnel and expertise supporting the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment National Security Centre.

Domestically, provisional figures indicate that the Naval Service has completed 1200 boarding’s and made 6 detentions so far in 2017 for alleged infringements of fishing regulations, the Air Corps conducted 225 Maritime Surveillance Patrol flights.

Both the Naval Service and the Air Corps patrol 220 million maritime acres of seas (over 12 times the land mass of Ireland, representing 15% of Europe’s fisheries.

Naval Service Dive Team were deployed 36 times in 2017 including 4 separate search and recovery operations following requests from An Garda Síochána, the Coast Guard and the Air Accident Investigation.

The Air Corps completed approximately 343 Emergency Aeromedical Support Services missions supporting the HSE in providing a medical service for seriously ill patients in rural communities.

The Air Corps provided 44 inter hospital Air Ambulance service support to the HSE to respond to time critical medical emergencies.

Air Corps continues to support the Garda Air Support Unit flights in 2017.

International Operations

The Defence Forces have the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to an United Nations mission in 1958.

In 2017, over 1,400 Defence Forces personnel served in overseas United Nations mandated Peace Support and security operations in 13 countries and one sea.

There are currently over 600 Defence Forces personnel serving in 13 countries.

The largest Defence Forces deployments are to South Lebanon with UNIFIL with 379 personnel deployed to create a safe and secure environment; and to the Golan Heights where 136 personnel are deployed as a Disengagement Observer Force.

The Defence Forces deployed 2 Naval ships under Operation Pontus to the Mediterranean.

A further Naval ship deployed on EU NAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. This is the first time an Irish Naval Ship has deployed as part of a multinational mission.

Training and Education

We train for what we can predict and we educate for what we cannot. As our personnel are our greatest strength, we place a significant focus on training and education to ensure that we develop our personnel and prepare them for complex operating environments, domestically and overseas.

618 Recruits and 101 Cadets were inducted to the Defence Forces and began their military training in 2017.

Approximately 220* Defence Forces personnel completed traditional Honours Degree courses, and 35 Defence Forces personnel completed Masters courses through Continuous Professional Development programmes.

20* internal Defence Forces training courses received third level accreditation in 2017.

520 Defence Forces personnel underwent 25 career courses developing their leadership, planning and decision making skills.

1306 Skill Courses were conducted by the Defence Forces in 2017 with 16,069 student days developing and maintaining Defence Force capabilities.

Approximately 1400 Defence Forces personnel underwent overseas pre-deployment mission readiness training ranging from counter IED to medical first responder training, radio and communications skills to armour vehicle driving.

Exercise Eullamh – Major Counter Terrorism exercise in Dublin in coordination with An Garda Siochana.

State Ceremonial & Representation

The Defence Forces participated in many significant Military and State Ceremonial Events in 2017.

The Bands of the Defence Forces played at 480 events during the course of the year.

The Army Equitation School competed in over 118 competitions during the course of the year.

The Defence Forces were honoured to participate in the Commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the Easter Rising at the GPO, O’Connell Street and the 1916 Leaders Commemoration at Arbour Hill.

In December, a ceremony was held in Custume Barracks, Athlone to present a newly-issued medal, An Bonn Jadotville, to the surviving veterans of A Company, 35 Infantry Battalion, and to the families of deceased members, as recognition of their courage and valiant defence whilst serving with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission at Jadotville in the Congo in September 1961.

A series of ceremonies were held in Belgium, jointly hosted by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom, to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Messines Ridge during World War 1.

The Defence Forces were honoured to participate in events at the Island of Ireland Peace Park, Messines; at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Wytschaete; at the grave of Willie Redmond MP in Locre; and at the Menin Gate in Ypres. There was also ceremonial participation in a ceremony held in Slane, Co. Meath to commemorate the Centenary of the death of the Irish poet, Francis Ledwidge, during World War 1.

A ceremony was held at Glasnevin Cemetery in September to commemorate the centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe, which was supported by the Defence Forces.

The funeral in October of the late Taoiseach, Mr. Liam Cosgrave, was also marked with military ceremonial honours.

Innovation and Collaboration

The Defence Forces strives to collaborate with partner agencies, nationally and internationally, to find innovative solutions to complex modern security challenges.

ROCSAFE: The Ordnance Corps is a consortium member in a successful H2020 project with partners from the National University of Ireland, Galway as well as Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal where the project secured over 4.7m in research funding. This project is based on dealing with the aftermath of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNe) event.

GAMING FOR PEACE: A consortium including Trinity /College, the PSNI and Finnish Army, Gaming for Peace uses virtual reality to codify the experience of our personnel and develop innovative training tools. The project has now progressed on to the second phase and a prototype will be developed based on the Defence Forces End User Advisory Board. Selected members of the Defence Forces will provide feedback on the Game of Peace through a series of interviews based on their personal experiences overseas so that the prototype can be refined.

CAMELOT: The project’s objective is to develop a multi-domain command and control system to be used for sea boarder surveillance. The Naval Service are consortium members with the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI), BAE Systems, NATO and the Portuguese Navy. The Naval Service will attend planning meetings and various workshops in order to develop this project further during the course of 2018.

Best of Defence Forces 2017 Image Galleries

Best of Defence Forces Images

Best of Army 2017 Images

Best of Air Corps 2017 Images

Best of Naval Service 2017 Images

Best of Overseas 2017 Images

Press Release Date: Satuarday 30th December 2017

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Pat O'Connor

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer