The Defence Forces – what are they for?

Photograph: Alan Betson

Photograph: Alan Betson


Sir, – Who are the Defence Forces defending? As far as I am aware, we have no external enemies waiting to subjugate us.

Anyway, even if we had, what could our paltry 10,000 troops do against a modern invader?

Our Army and Air Corps are simply vanity projects. The Naval Service has a worthwhile role in the nation’s security, but cannot provide crews for all its assets.

A solution would be to reduce Army numbers by half and convert it into a mobile gendarmerie force.

Working closely with the Garda, it could be the kind of back-up currently provided by the handful of armed policemen assigned to combating criminals. Then pay the new gendarmes better wages, give them a greater role in the real protection of the State – defending urban and rural communities from the mobile and ruthless thugs who prey on them. – Yours, etc,



Co Cavan.