Why do we need an army?

Brendan Burgess

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I heard that the guy in charge of the Ranger unit had quit because of the contempt which the government has for the army.

But why do we need an army?

Could we not have a Garda force with a special unit trained in defence in the unlikely event that they are ever needed.

If the army does other duties like marine rescue, fine. But even then, could that not be done by one Garda force?

Brendan
 

Leper

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Do we need an army? - Yes. The island is still in recovery from illegal organisations which are/were heavily armed. We don't know what would have happened the republic if we had no army during the height of the northern troubles. The IRA hasn't gone away, you know; neither has the UDA, UVF, etc. Eventhough the north is now largely in recovery there are still some ripples which could grow into a tsunami. And Brendan thinks a special unit Garda force would have served the republic better! I don't think so. I haven't even mentioned peace keeping duties abroad.

Do we need a navy? Yes. We need somebody to protect our fishing waters which are under assault from fishermen of other nations, drug barons. I haven't even mentioned rescue facilities. Furthermore, our navy acquitted itself well in the Mediterranean recently.

Do we need the Air Corps? Yes.

All of the above forces are understaffed and suffering morale difficulties. Each member pays income tax, PRSI etc on every cent earned. Some of them (according to a lady on RTE's main news recently) would be financially better off working in some menial jobs.
 

Duke of Marmalade

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Agree with Leper's points. But also, the defense forces are the backstop against democracy somehow putting the looneys in power. I know we associate that sort of army coup with African post colonial nations. Thankfully the balm of economic and technological progress has ensured that Western democracies has generally provided “sensible” administrations. But a severe economic reverse could put a looney left bunch in charge. The army would have a responsibility to impose order in those circumstances.
 
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odyssey06

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The one I'm not sure about is the 'navy'... in the sense of a military force.
If you look at the US Coastguard, it handles search, rescue, customs patrols. I think that's all we would need at sea.
It's more of an ethos & focus thing, 90% of what they do would be the same.

I think the mission in the Mediterranean is crazy, it's not a rescue mission, it's a ferry service.
 

Ceist Beag

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+1 Leper. Just to include another responsibility of the army not mentioned, our peacekeeping duties with the UN.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Yes. The island is still in recovery from illegal organisations which are/were heavily armed. We don't know what would have happened the republic if we had no army during the height of the northern troubles. The IRA hasn't gone away, you know; neither has the UDA, UVF, etc. Eventhough the north is now largely in recovery there are still some ripples which could grow into a tsunami. And Brendan thinks a special unit Garda force would have served the republic better! I don't think so.
But why is a Garda force not the best way to deal with criminality of any kind?

I am not suggesting we should just get rid of our army and not replace it. Soldiers who are dealing with criminal activity would form a special unit of the Garda.

I can't see how it makes sense to have two separate forces dealing with criminal activity.

Brendan
 

Brendan Burgess

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But also, the defense forces are the backstop against democracy somehow putting the looneys in power.
Again, why would the Garda not be the right response to that?

And which looneys are you talking about here?

If Sinn Féin and PPB and I4C get a majority and invite in the Russians to help us are you suggesting that the Army should intervene?

Brendan
 

Brendan Burgess

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Do we need a navy? Yes. We need somebody to protect our fishing waters which are under assault from fishermen of other nations, drug barons. I haven't even mentioned rescue facilities.
Yes, we need a navy.

But why is it part of the army and not part of the Garda?

Brendan
 

Ceist Beag

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Because it sounds better to say we're bringing in the army Brendan! :p They're (army, navy, air corps) actually all part of the Defence Forces and are a separate entity from the Gardai. Their role is very much a defensive role, compared to the Gardai who go after criminals. I don't see why it would serve us better to put them together.
 

Duke of Marmalade

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Again, why would the Garda not be the right response to that?

And which looneys are you talking about here?

If Sinn Féin and PPB and I4C get a majority and invite in the Russians to help us are you suggesting that the Army should intervene?

Brendan
Boss, Ceist Beag has given an answer on your first point. You can call them what you want but let's distinguish between society's policing needs and its defence needs. We always need policing. But we do not usually need actual defence activity, so in such times our defence forces have to pass the time doing boy scout activity.

Defence against what? Surely not external attack. (a) this seems so remote that any preparations would be disproportionate and (b) unless it is Scotland we are thinking of, we would be overwhelmed by any putative external force.

So it is defence against internal threats. Given this State's history possible IRA insurgency is not yet remote. On my more controversial suggestion that they might hijack the democratic process in certain circumstamces, that does seem remote when you contemplate the current looney tunes in Dail Eireann. But it is not so long ago that countries like Spain and Greece were ruled by generals because there was not sufficient confidence in democracy. Democracy is the best system when it works. But, for example, it clearly broke down in NI in the early 70s. That was a full parliamentary democracy with universal adult suffrage but it was dysfunctional. The British Goverment, backed by overwhelming military might, intervened and suspended the democratic process, and quite right too.

I would hope that if our country started to drift towards a Venezuela type situation that the powers that be (the elites?) would intervene with the backing of the army.
 
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Purple

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Again, why would the Garda not be the right response to that?

And which looneys are you talking about here?

If Sinn Féin and PPB and I4C get a majority and invite in the Russians to help us are you suggesting that the Army should intervene?

Brendan
The average pay in the Gardai, when you include the cost of their pension, is over €120,000 a year. I don't know what the average pay (including pension) is in the armed forces but I suspect it is considerably lower than that.
Would replacing the Army with additional Gardai be cost effective and is there that much commonality in their skill sets that it would be appropriate to do so?

I fully agree that we don't need a Navy. We need a Coast Guard.
 

Purple

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I would hope that if our country started to drift towards a Venezuela type situation that the powers that be (the elites?) would intervene with the backing of the army.
The elites and Army in Venezuela tries that when Chavez was elected and people here went nuts about it. It turns out they were right!
 

cremeegg

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But why do we need an army?

Could we not have a Garda force with a special unit

Brendan
What an outrageous suggestion.

Armies provide security, the basic duty of any state.

Surely even you can see that.

To replace our army with the Gardaí would be a terrible mistake.

Europe would take a dim view of any suggestion of disbanding the army given current tensions.

Really there is no argument.

Summertime stuff.

Apologies to OSG
 

joe sod

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I heard that the guy in charge of the Ranger unit had quit because of the contempt which the government has for the army.
or maybe more to the point why do we need a "department of defence", from listening to his points they seem to be getting in the way of the army operating efficiently, he revealed it was department cock ups that caused the air corp to be delayed by 4 hrs from putting out the gorse fires in donegal. Alarmingly there are no experienced military staff working in the department of defence. Remember back in the financial crash when the department of finance had nobody with the relevant qualifications in banking and finance to deal with what was happening, the minister had to go outside to get proper advice
 

Purple

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What an outrageous suggestion.

Armies provide security, the basic duty of any state.

Surely even you can see that.

To replace our army with the Gardaí would be a terrible mistake.

Europe would take a dim view of any suggestion of disbanding the army given current tensions.

Really there is no argument.

Summertime stuff.

Apologies to OSG
Costa Rica, a country the same size and population as Ireland which is bordered by Nicaragua and Panama and near Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras, has no army and hasn't has one since the foundation of their State in 1948. If they don't need one why do we?
 

Duke of Marmalade

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Costa Rica, a country the same size and population as Ireland which is bordered by Nicaragua and Panama and near Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras, has no army and hasn't has one since the foundation of their State in 1948. If they don't need one why do we?
How do you know these things Purple?
Wiki said:
Outside the Fuerza Pública, there is a small Special Forces Unit, the Unidad Especial de Intervencion (UEI) or Special Intervention Unit, an elite commando force which trains with special forces from around the world, but is not part of the main police forces. Instead it is part of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) which reports directly to the Minister of the Presidency. About 70 members strong, it is organized along military lines, although officially a civilian police unit.
Well it seems to be just a matter of name calling though at 70 its "army" is small.
 
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