Into The Modern Era 1969 - Present Day

In 1969 the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland marked the start of an intense period of Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP) by all elements of the Defence Forces. The FCÁ played a very important part in this task. The emphasis was now placed on internal security operations rather than conventional operations. Three Infantry Groups were initially deployed to the border with the six counties.

The establishment of field hospitals and refugee camps added a new dimension to a very complex operation. As a result three newly activated Infantry Battalions and a Cavalry Squadron were established and ten military posts were developed in the border area.

In 1980 the integrated brigade system was replaced by a separate command and control structure for FCÁ units within each Command. The tasks for the Defence Forces included the provision of permanent guards on vital installations, the provision of armed parties for the escort of cash, explosives and prisoners, and the presence of Defence Forces personnel at blasting sites within the state.

In addition specialist assistance such as bomb disposal, search teams as well as air and naval support were provided to the GardaÁ. The increased security requirements for events such as high profile visits and EU Summits added to the commitment.

In May 1991 the Minister for Defence signed the Defence Forces’ Regulation which resulted in the establishment of representative associations within the organisation.


Read more about Defence Forces History

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]