Defence Forces in Focus

Third Edition

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Page 3 of 83

Defend The primary role of the Defence Forces, Óglaigh na hÉireann, is to provide for the military defence of the State. As a neutral sovereign State, Ireland is responsible for its own defence, and for the protection of its inhabitants against a wide range of security and other threats. This capability is vested in the three services of Óglaigh na hÉireann; the Army, the Naval Service and the Air Corps. The Defence Forces is a fundamental institution of the State. In the last century, Ireland has been confronted with the War of Independence, the Civil War, the Emergency, Internal Security Operations, and has maintained a proud and enduring record of Peace Support Operations overseas. In all of these crises, Óglaigh na hÉireann delivered a key component of the State's response to such threats. Protect Óglaigh na hÉireann play a fundamental role in protecting the citizens and resources of the State by providing a wide range of core military skills that cannot be replicated elsewhere in society. As a physical manifestation of Irish Foreign policy, the Defence Forces deploy regularly on UN mandated missions throughout the globe. Overseas, the Defence Forces have unbroken service in the cause of peace on over 70 UN or UN approved missions since 1958. In that time, over sixty thousand individual tours of duty have been completed to some of the most hostile regions of the world, protecting some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. The Naval Service is Ireland's primary seagoing agency, responsible for safeguarding Ireland's interests at sea. It is responsible for providing fishery protection, and patrols Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone, which measures some 132,000 Sq miles, four times the land mass of Ireland. This is one of the largest Zones in the EU, representing approximately 15% of Europe's fisheries. Page 2

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