In a statement issued on 13 March 2019, the Irish Defence Forces – Óglaigh na hÉireann – have cancelled all non-essential activities and are preparing to assist the civil authority as required.
FILE PHOTO: A cadets from the Irish Army’s 96th Cadet Class in training with the National Health Service to conduct ‘contact tracing’ as Ireland combats the corona virus. Óglaigh na hÉireann photo.
In a statement, the Irish Defence Forces confirmed that they have notified their personnel of the impending change to force posture.
“All non-essential activities have been suspended,” the statement said.
“Our focus now is to maximise our preparedness to respond to requests for assistance from the civil authorities.
“Protecting our personnel is our priority and is key to maintaining our capability to provide support to communities and civil authorities, when requested.”
The statement said that for operational security reasons, no comment on specific dispositions of troops or on internal unit procedures would be provided.
However, The Irish Defence Forces Facebook page already shows officer cadets in training to conduct ‘contact tracing’ phone calls for the HSE (national health service).
“Cadets of the 96th Cadet Class are now training with the HSE Live as part of their contact tracing team in efforts to combat the Corona Outbreak.”
Ireland more broadly has closed all childcare facilities, schools, collages and universities, restricted visitors to hospitals and encouraged ‘social distancing’ practices.
The latest figures from the World Health Organisation say Ireland has 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and recorded one death, up to 13 March 2020.
EDITOR’S NOTE: CONTACT has a particular interest in Irish affairs. Editor Brian Hartigan and Business Manager Rosie Hartigan hail from the Emerald Isle and still have many relatives there, including elderly parents.