Defence Forces at ‘crisis’ point as numbers fall below 8,500

Personnel leaving at faster rate than new recruits joining

Numbers are supposed to be maintained at a minimum of 9,500 serving personnel, excluding several hundred recruits in training at any one time. File photograph: Alan Betson

Numbers are supposed to be maintained at a minimum of 9,500 serving personnel, excluding several hundred recruits in training at any one time. File photograph: Alan Betson

Numbers in the Defence Forces have continued to fall despite recent recruitment campaigns, with many personnel now concerned the situation is beyond rescue based on the Government’s current approach.

The full strength of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps combined should be a minimum of 9,500 personnel but has now fallen below 8,500; the lowest point since numbers were increased in the 1970s in response to The Troubles erupting.

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