Mission Statement

The Defence Forces White Paper on Defence (2015) sets out the roles of the Defence Forces as follows:

  • To provide for the military defence of the State from armed aggression;
  • To participate in multi-national  peace  support,  crisis management  and humanitarian  relief  operations  in  accordance  with  Government  direction and legislative provision;
  • To  aid the  civil  power  –  meaning in practice to  assist,  when  requested,  An  Garda Síochána, who have primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State;
  • To  contribute  to  maritime  security  encompassing  the  delivery  of  a  fishery  protection  service  and  the  operation  of  the  State’s  Fishery  Monitoring  Centre,  and  in  co-operation  with  other  agencies  with  responsibilities  in  the  maritime  domain, to contribute to a shared common maritime operational picture;
  • To participate in the Joint Taskforce on Drugs interdiction; To contribute to national resilience through the provision of specified defence aid to the civil authority (ATCA) supports to lead agencies in response to major emergencies, including cyber security emergencies, and in the maintenance of essential services, as set out in MOUs and SLAs agreed by the Department of Defence;
    To provide a Ministerial air transport service (MATS);
  • To provide ceremonial services on behalf of Government;
  • To provide a range of other supports to government departments and agencies in line with MOUs and SLAs agreed by the Department of Defence e.g. search and rescue and air ambulance services;
  • To contribute to Ireland’s economic well being through engagement with industry, research and development and job initiatives, in support of government policy;
  • To fulfil any other tasks that Government may assign from time to time.

How We Are Organised

The Defence Forces are organised on conventional military lines providing a sufficiently flexible structure to carry out all the roles assigned by Government. The Defence Forces consist of a Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and a Reserve Defence Force (RDF). The former is a standing force and provides the primary capabilities for joint military operations at home and combined military Peace Support Operations abroad. The RDF provides the necessary contingent conventional military capability to augment and assist the PDF, when necessary. The Permanent Defence Force consists of an Army, an Air Corps and a Naval Service.

The Minister for Defence has an office in the Department of Defence (DOD) and Defence Forces (DF) Headquarters building which is located on Station Road in Newbridge. The Defence Forces Chief of Staff liaises with the Minister for Defence on all Defence related matters.

Defence Forces Headquarters

The Defence Forces Chief of Staffs office is located in the DOD/ DF HQ building on Station Road, Newbridge. The Chief of Staff can liaise directly with his Deputy Chiefs of Staff, DCOS Ops and DCOS Sp, who are co-located in the HQ building. The Minister for Defence and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence are also located in the HQ building.

The Army Brigades

1st Brigade

The 1st Brigade is responsible for military operations in the southern region of the country.

Its area of responsibility includes the counties of:

Carlow, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick Clare, Tipperary and Galway.

HQ of the 1st Brigade (Bde) is located in Collins Barracks, Cork. The other Barracks located in the 1st Brigade area of responsibility (AOR) include:

  • Collins Barracks in Cork
  • Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick
  • Stephens Barracks in Kilkenny
  • Kilworth Training Camp in Kilworth
  • Dún Ui Mhaoilíosa, Galway

2nd Brigade

The 2nd Brigade is responsible for military operations in the northern region of the country. Its area of responsibility includes the counties of:

Wicklow, Dublin, Louth, Kildare, Longford, , Meath, Westmeath, Roscommon, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim & Mayo.

HQ of the 2nd Brigade is located in Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, Dublin. The other Barracks located in the 2nd Brigade area of responsibility (AOR) include: 

  • McKee Barracks , Dublin 7
  • St Bricins Hospital, Dublin
  • Gormanstown Camp in Co Meath
  • Aiken Barracks, Dundalk
  • Custume Barracks, Athlone
  • Finner Camp in Ballyshannon

Defence Forces Training Centre

The Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) is located in The Curragh Camp in Co Kildare. The DFTC consists of a HQ element and all Defence Forces training, education and logistical units.

The following Defence Forces 'Reserve' Units are also located in the DFTC:

  • 1 Mechanised Infantry Company
  • 1st Armoured Cavalry Squadron 
  • The Army Ranger Wing (ARW)

Air Corps

The Air Corps is the air component of the Permanent Defence Forces, based at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co. Dublin. Today, approximately 750 men and women serve in the Air Corps, each making a unique and significant contribution to fulfilling the roles, both primary and secondary as assigned by government. HQ of the Air Corp is located in Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, Dublin 22.

Naval Service

The Naval Service is based on Haulbowline Island. It has an authorised maximum strength of 1,144 personnel and comprises a flotilla of eight ships. The key characteristics of the Naval Service flotilla are those of a rapid reaction, flexible and multi-capable force able to sustain the maximum number of patrol days within the constraints of the resources available. HQ of the Naval Service is located in Haulbowline, Cobh, Co Cork.

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]