Quite true, and the Irish Army would certainly have been a deterrent, then, however they have gone away you know. Or at least currently confine their activities to Diesel laundering and sporadic murder, for the suppression of which a standing army of 5000 would not be required. Just a competent Gardai.
Once before we heard the "peace in our time" speech and we saw what that led to. The IRA did not exist after the 50s border campaign but grew to be a formidable force in the 80s. There is no reason to believe it could not happen again. If it is all the same with you, I would like to keep our insurance policy.
In the scheme of things it is not all that expensive. The halfway thought the year the Health Service is 250 million over budget due to incompetence and waste. The budget for the DF is some 600 million and they do not go over budget.
Another aspect to the argument of having any ground forces at all, is that small North Atlantic countries tend not to have them. Iceland's been mentioned, but to that can be added the Faeroe Islands and Greenland. Granted, both have links to Denmark and therefore NATO, but none of these countries have much in the way of troops on the ground.
Like Ireland, they too were strategically situated in the Cold War, and presumably have their share of natural disasters - the volcano in Iceland a couple of years back springs to mind. These countries would also have their share of foreign dignitaries requiring protection, and while there's bound to be Brievik type nutters it seems that their civil police are capable of dealing with them when required.
Our home grown terrorists in the North were dealt with almost entirely by the civil and military forces there, with little practical help from the Irish Army.
So yes, there is a definite case for further downsizing of Irish ground forces.
With respect, your naivety pertaining roles in relation NI is very evident! Why do you think (with the horrific exceptions of 1972 and 1974 in Dublin/Monaghan & Belturbet - year escapes me) that counties in the south, such as Mayo, remained relatively peaceful and escaped the physical and psychological terror experienced by people from all sides in NI?
Was it the Boy Scouts from Kiltamagh who manned checkpoints and the damp boreens along the border in the dead of night, in the middle of winter in the 70s and 80s!! (and yes, i fully agree ... the many ordinary young squaddies from the UK played a very big part too on the other side! .... of course, that depends on one's perspective.)
Ireland was caught napping in 1969-70 because of previous cuts in Defence, complacency and similar armchair arguments such as yours. This cannot be allowed to happen again. (+ see points in my previous post on this thread). All countries in the west are considering similar cuts relative to the size of their armed forces, including the UK (see another thread on this). You refer to the "insurance metaphor" in another post .... Insurance is not a metaphor .... it is an economic reality ... yes we have to work with what economic resources we have. It's not about necessarily about pride, and certainly not arrogance as you mention elsewhere ... it is an economic necessity.
The third one is particularly interesting. It looks at the relationship sovereign wealth and the preservation of national security.
The research it is based upon has its origins in an October 2011 workshop held in London in which politicians, officials and analysts came together to discuss (and I quote) "notions of sovereign wealth and asset recovery for states that had been systematically plundered – usually by their own elites and officials". The authors argue that sovereign wealth recovery is a function of national security. To quote: "Analysts often conceive of defence as a confluence of three constituent, interdependent elements: government policy, the development of defence capabilities presumably to promote that policy, and forces on operations to deploy those capabilities thereby meeting a country’s policy ambition ... ; but one key, niche ingredient that, to date, has been ignored is the stolen asset recovery actor’s role in defence: in other words, the contribution made by the specialist accountant, lawyer and investigator, and the companies that employ them, in tracking and returning purloined sovereign wealth to a particular state".
Now, the authors were primarily referring to so called "failed states" and states such as those emerging from the Arab Spring, Afghanistan etc. .... but the primary thrust of the paper had an eerily familiar ring too it!!!
We are an economically fragile state, but certainly not a failed one ... there are many signs of growth and hope. Ireland is poised to take off again if and when our Euro neighbours begin doing some spending!! (Here's hoping!) .... I for one hope we never have to "break glass in emergency" ... because Greece came bloody close to it ... the army may not be numerically superior .... but as one with business interests, am glad we have them there ... just in case!
A very easy figure to find in the estimates if you're interested. Not knowing the cost hasn't, so far at least, prevented you from having a controversial opinion on things military. Defence is 36th , I think, in the budget estimates which means that there are 35 higher spends.
Personally I'd rather have the DF than throw millions at " unmarried mothers " and suchlike.
It is worth pointing out that the Defence expenditure consistently comes in UNDER budget. I believe it was close to 50 million euro UNDER budget last year. The Defence Forces have very strict waste management, heating, rationing and recycling systems in place. This has saved the DF and the taxpayer a fortune over the last few years. The DF has also rationalised some duty pay, meaning certain 24 hour duties have been stopped or at least cut back. All these savings are in-house, not imposed by any Government policy or direction.
At lot of people dont know this.
Sorry for jumping in on your post, I just wanted to highlight that the Irish tax payer, in terms of Defence, gets a lot of "bang for their buck" if you excuse the term.
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