chapter  8
13 Pages

Unions in the Irish Defence Forces: From Struggle for Representation to Mutually Beneficial Cooperation

ByJEAN CALLAGHAN

Because the Republic of Ireland has been militarily neutral since the founding of the state, the Permanent Defence Forces of the Republic were never designed or intended for participation in the potential military conflict that loomed for so long between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw Pact. At the end of the Cold War, the Irish military did not face the kinds of pressure for force restructuring and downsizing that characterised the agenda for large continental European and North American armed forces. Although the Irish did not have a large standing army or huge surpluses of tanks and heavy equipment that was no longer needed, this did not mean that the Irish military would be able to avoid the sorts of reorganisation or personnel cuts that characterised most European military defence reform in the last decade of the twentieth century.