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‘New Irish’ welcome in Defence Forces

Last update - Saturday, March 15, 2014, 03:23 By Metro Éireann

Minister Shatter tells Ireland’s freshest citizens: ‘Your new country needs you’

Justice Minister Alan Shatter used a citizenship ceremony in Waterford last week to announce that the Defence Forces are hiring again – and called on Ireland’s newest citizens to apply.
“With the changes in the make-up of Ireland’s population, it is important that we raise awareness and attract recruits from all backgrounds, including the new Irish, so that our Defence Forces, both permanent and reserve, reflect the society that they serve,” Minister Shatter told those gathered at Waterford City Hall.
Almost 100 immigrants from 25 countries pledged their loyalty to the nation at the 7 March ceremony, joining more than 60,000 people who have become citizens since June 2011.
Minister Shatter invited those interested “in a challenging, rewarding and fulfilling career in one of Europe’s most modern military forces ... to apply online and play your part”.
The Government plans to top up numbers in the Army and Naval Service, hiring as many as 400 personnel to the permanent ranks and 500 to the Reserve Defence Force in 2014. Wannabe recruits can sign up at
Ireland’s Defence Forces are involved in 14 missions throughout the world, including Congo, Western Sahara and Lebanon. Most troops are engaged in peace support missions in the Middle East.
Irish citizens, refugees, EEA nationals and anybody with five years’ lawful and unbroken residency in the State can apply to join.
The military doesn’t keep statistics of the ethnic background of its personnel, said Defence Forces press officer Denis Hanly, but is conscious of the benefits of tapping into Ireland’s growing diversity to become “an even more relevant and effective force”.
Hanly said he’s often spotted Irish nametags among Australian and British forces, proof that immigrants and their children can play a key role in their new country’s army and navy.
“We’re trying to bring that home,” he added.

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