File photo via Irish Defence Forces
As 2019 drew to a close the Defence Forces, which includes the training centre at the Curragh Camp, have complied an end of year summary of Defence Forces Security Operations and training activities throughout 2019, both at home and overseas.
The Defence Forces conducted a wide range of Defence and Security Operations in 2019.
Their deployments included Aid to Civil Power and Aid to the Civil Authority operations on a daily basis supporting An Garda Síochána, HSE, Local Authorities and other key agencies of the State. Some examples of these activities are:
The Army conducted over 195 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 Search Operations.
The Defence Forces deployed approximately 2,614 personnel on Joint Security Operations during State Visits including POTUS and VPOTUS.
Members of the Defence Forces continue to provide a permanent armed guard at Ireland’s only maximum-security prison, Portlaoise Prison as well as the Central Bank and Irish Industrial Explosives.
The Defence Forces contributed personnel and expertise supporting the Department of Communications. Climate Action and Environment National Cyber Security Centre.
Over 336 personnel, including the Engineer Specialist Search Teams, were deployed to assist in 14 various searches on request from An Garda Siochana.
And approximately 120 personnel were deployed to assist civil authorities during multiple operations, including combating gorse fires in Wicklow, Donegal and Mayo.
The Defence Forces also deployed ambulances and crews on seven occasions throughout the year in Kildare, Dublin and Cork to assist the NAS.
In 2019, Defence Forces personnel served overseas on missions with the United Nations, NATO PfP (Partnership for Peace), EU and OSCE Peace Support and Security Operations across 14 missions in 13 countries. There are currently 595 Defence Forces personnel serving overseas.
The largest Defence Forces deployment is in South Lebanon with UNIFIL, where 338 Irish personnel are deployed to maintain a safe and secure environment. In November 2019, Ireland partnered with Poland on this mission, enhancing and developing our interoperability with Partner Nations. The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) also contribute nine personnel to IRISHPOLBATT.
Ireland currently has 138 personnel deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, Syria (UNDOF). Our ongoing Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) upgrade programme saw nine new APCs deployed to UNDOF in November 19, enhancing force protection and mobility for our troops in theatre.