12 out of 80 new recruits to the Defence Forces in 2010 were women, its annual report revealed. Photocall Ireland
Defence Forces

Over 99% of Irish Defence Forces pass drug tests

The Defence Forces leads the way in Ireland with regard to workplace drug testing.

MORE THAN 99 per cent of Ireland’s Defence Forces passed mandatory drugs tests last year.

In its annual report, the Defence Forces said it carried out compulsory and random drug tests on 1,586 of its personnel.

Of those tests, 99.56 per cent were negative, with just seven people testing positive. The report revealed that three members of the forces are currently subject to targeted drugs testing.

The Defence Forces says it uses random testing as a way of deterring its members from using or abusing drugs. It now claims to be one of Ireland’s leading organisations in workplace drug testing.

Support to civil authorities

During 2010, the Defence Forces provided aid to 7,778 operations, including 2,143 cash-in-transit escorts, 175 prisoner escorts and four explosive exports.

The explosives disposal unit was also called out 198 times, while security at Government buildings was required on 365 occasions.

Nationwide assistance was also supplied during the severe weather conditions in January, November and December.

Outside of Ireland, 1,156 members of the permanent Defence Force were deployed to various missions around the world. However, there has been a sizeable decrease in the number of troops abroad, falling from 764 on January 1, 2010 to 134 on December 31, 2010. This is mainly due to declining numbers in Chad and Kosovo.

Equal opportunities

Currently, about 6 per cent of the permanent Defence Forces are women. The organisation says it is “committed to a policy of equal opportunities” and last year’s recruits included 12 females. In 2010, there were 569 women serving in the forces – including 467 in the army, 32 in the air corps and 70 in the naval service.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter is accompanying members of the Defence Forces to Limerick today to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Trooper Patrick Mullins in the Congo.

Trooper Mullins died as a result of hostile action while on service in the Congo on September 15, 1961.

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