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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 19 August, 2019
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Defence Forces personnel made change on side of road before commemoration event

An image of the incident was shared on social media by the Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces.

Image: WPDF via Facebook

DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL were made change their outfits on the side of the road and in a minibus before Sunday’s national commemoration event after they were allegedly not permitted into the building as it was for “VIPs”. 

The National Day of Commemoration took place in Collins Barracks on Sunday, to mark the anniversary of the date in 1921 that a truce was signed ending the Irish War of Independence.

It is alleged that after travelling from the Haulbowline base early on Sunday morning to the commemoration event in Dublin, members of the Defence Forces were “turned away at the gate” of Collins Barracks as the room they were due to change in was “now reserved for VIPs”. 

It is also alleged that, as a result of being turned away, male personnel had to change on the side of a road, while female personnel had to change in a minibus.

An image of the incident was shared on social media by the Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces (WPDF) group. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, WPDF spokesperson Shelly Cotter said family members had contacted the group to inform them of the situation. 

“Because it’s the military … if a command is given, they just do it. They knew there was a timeframe, they knew that there was dignitaries … waiting for them,” Cotter said.

“So, they just do what they have to do to do their job, but no the outpouring we’ve got from them since is that they weren’t happy,” she said. 

They will always, always be where you need them to be and do what you’ve asked them to do.
Surely it’s taking the absolute mick to expect grown men and women  - on a Sunday they will not get paid extra for being up there – at best they could offer a day in lieu and then they have to strip on the side of the road. 

In a statement, the Defence Forces confirmed that the incident happened “due to a miscommunication on our part”. 

“It has been identified in our after action review and Óglaigh na hÉireann will put measures in place to address this oversight,” the statement said. 

Cotter has called on the Defence Forces to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again. 

“We’d love that lessons would be learned and this would not happen again,” Cotter said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defence contacted TheJournal.ie to insist that “there was never a room booked for those DF personnel in Collins Barracks” and that arrangements for Defence Forces personnel on the day were “a matter solely for Military Management”.

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