Developments in the Irish Defence Forces

The Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea, yesterday appointed Ireland’s first military judge. The position of military judge replaces the judge-advocate in defence legislation (Defence (Amendment) act 2007). At the ceremony appointing Colonel Tony Mc Court to the position, the Minister also discussed the possibility of up to 350 members of the Defence Forces going to Chad and the Central African Republic as part of the EU’s UN-mandated peacekeeping force. (SC Resolution 1778 (25 September 2007)).

Irish soldiers currently serve in a number of international peacekeeping missions and last year’s Defence (Amendment) Act 2006 ought to ensure that military personnel would have all necessary training, including international legal training, to enable their participation in overseas UN peace support operations. That Act also allows for the ordered deployment of Irish military personally in humanitarian operations necessitated by natural disasters for which personnel previously had to volunteer.