MoU to allow joint exercises between British and Irish Armies…

And it’s worth noting that after the first member of the PSNI was engaged by An Garda Siochana, Simon Coveney and Michael Fallon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which as Michael Fisher notes

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding will be followed by the drafting of a three-year Action Plan that will contain the detailed programme of bilateral co-operation activities for the forthcoming year and set the objectives for the succeeding two years. This may include military forces training, exercises and education, joint procurement and general sharing on reform in defence services.

You’d almost be forgiven thinking that East West appears to be working relatively well compared to North South; where some of Simon Hamilton’s proposed cuts to cross border bodies have yet to broached with his southern counterparts…

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  • Practically_Family

    It’s been happening on a pretty much one way basis for quite some time, for one reason or another.

    What this amounts to, in green terms at least, is a frank admission by UK forces that the Irish have something to teach them and that the “co-operation” is going to become more of a two way street.

  • Practically_Family

    Oh, and ultimately (probably) a small but lucrative market for BAe.

  • Ernekid

    This is a mutually beneficial arrangement that shows the normalisation of relations between our nations.

    It’s good thatThe Brits are getting more specialised peace keeping training. The Irish Defence Forces are one of the best Peacekeeping forces in the world with decades of experience. The British Army is moving towards a greater peacekeeping role so they want to learn from the best. The Irish get their spare kit. It’s win-win, Maybe the Irish could get a few Jackals that the Brits used in Afghanistan, they’d be handy in the Golan Heights and in the African Peacekeeping Taskforces.

  • Robin Keogh

    It will also be handy when Unity comes that the two armies are on a friendly footing. There will be no mutiny next time round.

  • Practically_Family

    I suspect cast-off CVR(T) are more likely, as the Cav have them already.

    Jackal/Coyote as a current system is likely to want paying for, even if they are surplus to requirements.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, they’d fight one another if ordered to, Robin, but as professionals, with none of the rancour civilians seem so addicted to. I am a longstanding member of MHSI and the relations of my fellow members from both the 26/6 countys, many serving soldiers or retired after service in either army, has always been a model of courtesy and mutual understanding.

  • Practically_Family

    They’re benefiting a great deal more from PfP participation, although they don’t like to advertise.

    Possibly not a popular view amongst all callsigns (heh!) but there is a great deal that the PDF can teach any army about the modern peacekeeping mission, they are simply one of the most experienced regular forces in the role in the world today.

    Certainly a potential client state, but as the total military budget is about three quarters of a billion p.a. They won’t be buying a whole lotta kit. SAA and maintenance contracts on their AFV/Air fleet would be the prize there.

    There’s also the slightly embarrassing issue of being able to impose upon the Air Corps for help with airborne maritime patrol and specialised top cover for SARops which the RAF/FAA is currently unable to provide.

  • Practically_Family

    A fact which it has suited neither government to advertise particularly, until now at least.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, P_F, the relationship is nowhere as near one sided as BETF suggests.

  • Tochais Siorai

    UN are very tawdry about picking up tabs of any sort. Never a situation where they don’t owe Ireland millions for peacekeeping. Think it’s about €10m at the minute.
    .
    And as for your little anecdote, it’s apples and oranges. UN peacekeeping forces by their nature are relatively lightly armed which would not of course be the case with Israelis & moreover they’d in all likelihood be under orders not to engage the Israelis in the scenario you outline.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Maybe they realise that the endgame on this island will have to be joint authority and working together now will be good for everyone. It would be good to see the Royal Irish serving alongside the republics army. I believe that members of the Royal Irish have served with them on UN postings.

  • Practically_Family

    The PDF as a force is unrecognisable from that which existed in the 80’s let alone the days of the Congo.

    Sometimes the iron fist in the velvet glove may indeed be required, but sometimes it isn’t and right now the lesson to be learned is how not to.

    Frankly, if the future is to see a return to Cold War-ish stand offs with latter day Romanovs & well to do representatives of the Middle Kingdom, then getting used to walking away whistling quietly will be a very useful skill indeed.

  • chrisjones2

    ….yes it will be a smooth transition when you move back into the UK post collapse of the EU – just like the Act of Union for Scotland

  • Cue Bono

    “I suspect cast-off CVR(T) are more likely, as the Cav have them already.”

    The Yanks nicknamed them the Antiques Roadshow.

  • Practically_Family

    Ach, like I say, it’s really only a formalisation of a now long ongoing partnership. One that will in this case allow Ireland to be the lead partner, passing on their vastly greater experience in the peacekeeping role to their more conventional neighbour.

    Given their participation in ISAF, it would appear that they may take a more pro-active role in non-UN mandated international operations also. Something their NATO neighbours (and partners under PfP) will doubtless be willing to continue helping with.

    It’ll be interesting to see MTP worn in the Glen of Imaal just the same.

  • Gingray

    Very interesting, and maybe about time they had something formal. It’s to Irelands shame the country sat out ww1 while so many of its men and women served in and out of uniform for Britain.

    Links already exist informally – Óglaigh na hÉireann have worked with the UK on effective peace keeping while the Sciathán Fianóglach an Airm has trained with British special forces regularly.

    Good to see regardless, closer cooperation on things like defence can only benefit Ireland and the UK, and sure everyone can find a way to claim a win for their side.

  • Robin Keogh

    Lol ya and Edward Carson can become prime minister of all, lol

  • Robin Keogh

    Alan, i have long been of the view that we will have many years of joint authority before unity.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I would say that the British Government would appreciate the republic footing half the bill on this place.
    Here’s a question for you. When you talk about unity, are you talking about Northern Ireland being absorbed into the present day republic, or are you talking about a brand new country being formed? In my eyes they are two different things.

  • Robin Keogh

    I am not sure they are two different things now, they were certainly two different things twenty years ago. Back then the South was not very comsmopolitan and its standing internationally was only beginning to bloom. Moreover, it is only in the last twenty years that the relationship between Dublin and London has grown to become the solid monolith it is today. The Catholic Churchs role and influence in the lives of citizens is pretty much subdued and the harsh edge of Irish Nationalism has given way to a softer and more confident inclusive neo Nationalism.
    The social and cultural revolution over the last twenty years has in many ways shaped a new country by default, most notably in area of ethnic diversity where there has been a seamless and relatively peaceful integration of minorities into Irish society, without them having to surrender or dilute their own cultural heritage. I think this is pretty unique in Ireland when one looks at the rise of racist far right parties across the continent. Not even a sniff of such organisations forming in Ireland with the exception maybe of loyalist areas in the North East.
    Having said all that, I honestly cannot imagine Unity avoiding the creation of a Brand New Country. Its my view and only my view that a 32 county Republic would have to adopt a new flag, Anthem and other symbols that would be inclusive of the British minority. There would have to be some form of Economic and politcal Union between Britain and Ireland outside the commonwealth that would be mutually benificial economically and also sensitive to Unionist identity concerns.
    I also feel that the North East of the country should form a Canton of sorts that accomodates those citizens who would like to maintain some sort of Autonomous status, however it would be up to Unionists themselves to design this and present it to all parties for consideration.
    I suppose my overall view is that North and South should absorb into each other rather than one region absorbing the other. Unionism has the numbers now to negotiate a pretty favourable deal that avoids any absorbtion so to speak. I fear in twenty years time and with greatly reduced numbers that influence could wane significantl, with no clout, and depending who is in power at the time, the GFA rule of 50 plus 1 might prevail to the detriment of British citizens on the Island.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I appreciate you reply, Robin. I don’t think anyone can say that the south hasn’t changed over the past twenty years. Thankfully the parties in your country have (in the main) smoothed “the harsh edge of Irish Nationalism”.
    Maybe, you will be proved right and Northern Ireland and the Republic will drift towards each other and merge. Saying that, I don’t believe that it will happen anytime soon as the trust isn’t there yet.
    Speaking personally, I could live in a UI with a new flag, anthem etc as my British citizenship is guaranteed under the GFA. the people on the island voted for the GFA in 1998. That agreement paved the way for an assembly in Northern Ireland. That’s why I voted for it. I don’t believe that it should be dissolved and I can’t see any party (north or south) trying to dissolve it. The same with the PSNI. If the GFA was ripped up then I would find it very hard to live in a UI.
    I

  • Robin Keogh

    You have hit the nail on the end vis a vis the GFA and the assembly. As things stand nothing can affect their eistence and operation. However a vote on Irish unity that carries against the wishes of Unionism could effectively demolish both. That is why I believe that Unionism needs to carve a deal sooner rather than later.

  • $136050377

    Complete Rubbish..The UN doesn’t pay for any of the PDF equipment.
    It DOES pay for peacekeeping forces..But a lot of THAT money goes to the actual soldiers..Shows what you really know.

  • $136050377

    The Irish DONT buy second hand equipment.
    After Somalia in 1990’s The US army offered the Irish their Hum-vees The Irish used them over in Somalia..But didn’t ship them back home,.
    As for Jackals the Irish Army have got US made Ford Pick up trucks..They don’t need that rubbish.

  • $136050377

    Well are you sure? Coz they may have been talking about the other outdated kit that the Brits had.
    Such as the Bulldog APC from the 1960’s.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Robin, There might well come a day when the majority vote for a UI, but that doesn’t mean that the GFA will be ripped up. I believe that common sense and thinking outside the box policies will come to the fore.
    We all know that Northern Ireland is not as British as Finchley etc, regardless how much the DUP think it. At the same time we are very much more different than Cork and Tipperary etc regardless how SF think. How do we get a deal that works? The GFA, for its faults, is the only show in town, and while it’s not perfect, the people voted for it and it should not be reneged on, even in a UI. Saying all that, I don’t believe that the parties in the south will renege on it as they have moved on from de Valera, Costello and Haughey, and that is a good thing. I don’t believe that they think unionists are misguided Irish men/women any longer, and we are what we say we are. Even the shinners have changed their tune regarding that. That has changed a lot of peoples thinking but the trust will take a long time in coming.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Given that the Republic of Ireland is officially neutral, I cannot imagine that these exercises are limited to more than the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom’s own Partnership for Peace activities.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And it’s worth noting that after the first member of the PSNI was engaged by An Garda Siochana,
    Can I be the first to wish the couple all the best?

  • $136050377

    “Now it goes without saying that the UK Army is very much a war-fighting organisation. It may look with interest at other approaches. However I’d be surprised if it took on the placid approach adopted by the Irish.”

    ==========================

    British Army sat in it’s base in Basra Debacle.

    A fiasco of the British Army..Perhaps even more of an embarrasment than the defeat in Singapore where they outnumbered the Japanese 4:1 and still surrendered!!

    Also, according to the US marines who took over from the Brits in Helmand, Afghanistan..The Brits had no clue what was going on outside the wire of their camps.

    “….Then marine units began targeting insurgents well beyond the old southern line. “They didn’t pursue the Taliban,” the marine commander in the district, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Manning, said of the British. “We’ll go after them.”..”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/03/us-army-battles-british-afghanistan

    J’accuse you of spreading propaganda.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh come, the UK’s navy has been entente cordiale with La Marine Nationale de France for five years now, Britain will be sharing an Air Force with The German Luftwaffe next.

  • Verge hat

    Which is of course taking the view that the IDF is someone you should listen too. Talk to a few UN observers whether from Ireland or Canada or China and you’ll see the IDF isn’t the nicest or most well disciplined force. Always a chance on patrol some settler conscript will take a pot shot at you. Worse if they don’t want you around to see things. Amazing how heavy mortars or precision guided weapons can so easily go off course.

  • Verge hat

    You are trolling a little bit and certainly displaying your ignorance.

    Clearly no idea the difference between observation, peacekeeping, peace enforcement and peace making. They require different skills and different mind sets.

    Yeah observation doesn’t seem like a useful thing but if that’s as far as as the authorization stretches then you have to respect national sovereignty and international law. You can’t go invading places like the UK and you guys wouldn’t even let in observers in 69.

  • Verge hat

    Sat out WW1?

  • Robin Keogh

    The GFA does not have to be ripped up but it could be amended, updated or adjusted to deal with the new realities of a united ireland. Trust me when i tell you that the differences between cork and Tipp are just as stark as the differences between Antrim and Galway. Its a peculiarity of irelabd that you dont have to travel too far from the homeplace to find yourself in a town or village that feels quite different. I am a Bub who lives four miles from county wicklow, as soon as i cross that border i am left in no doubt that i am not a local.

    Someday the people will have their say via the ballot box and we will all have to simply suck up the result whatever that might be. Hooefully both side will be able to come to a workable agreement, tailored to suit the needs of all. The GFA is clear. The status of the North wont change untill a majority of its citizens agree otherwise. A majority being 50 plus one. Personally i would hope we can sort something out that renders such a flimsy requirement redundant. But as you say, for now its the only show in town.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I realise that other counties might have a different feel to it than your own, but it wasn’t what I thinking about. How many union flags would you see flying in Cork? Probably none if you’re honest. How many of that population would prefer to be governed by Westminster? Probably none.
    The question to be answered “is how to accommodate (approx)one million people in a country they don’t/might not want to be in. That is why we are different. The same, of course, can be said of nationalists in Northern Ireland and that is why the GFA came into being. This is the compromise we could/should have had forty years ago.
    Can you get what I am trying to say? There is a big difference between both sides of the border.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes Alan I understand that of course. But i am also very aware that all of us are subject to democratic principles and the agreements that are created from them. If the Island votes in favour of unity there will be an obligation on the part of the majority population of 87% to ensure the new nation is not cold house for the declining 13%. Its impossible however at this time to imagine how this might be achieved in the absence of any framework. In my view the region that is now NI or at least a large part of it would have to have a very strong political autonomous character. This is why i argue that Unionism should act soon to shape what they feel would be acceptable. If they wait until after the vote is carried, it might be too late to get the best deal possible and the fledgling state could quickly fall into conflict. Aside, i dont know if you have travelled much recently in the South but many hotels, ports and airports fly the Union flag alongside other international flags. It is also not uncommon to see English football fans and stag parties carry the Union flag when they are on the tiles in cities and towns across the state. I have witnessed it twice last year. I myself have flown it for an English Rugby match with no issue.

  • kalista63

    This is the Israeli army that yapped when a bunch of Tirkish sailors beat the shyte out of them, the same army that turned and ran ( israel had to kill one of them, themselves) when they encountered a Hamas unit, this summer?

  • kalista63

    To envisage the israelis idea of peace keeping, insert the famous Frankie Boyle joke.

  • Alan N/Ards

    The GFA is very clear that Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK while a majority wishes to be part of it. If it doesn’t and votes to be part of the ROI, then that will happen. But it doesn’t mean that Stormont will disappear, or indeed Northern Ireland will disappear as a region. Power for it will transfer to Dublin.
    The fact that Dublin will probably need the support of the British exchequer, for a considerable period, will help unionism in securing a lasting deal. Whatever deal is brokered, it will need to be a good one and compromises will have to be forthcoming (on both sides) as we can’t go back to conflict.

  • Gingray

    Good points Alan, lots of scope for negotiation, but at this point the nationalist parties have failed to present an image of what UI would look like, which is a loss

  • Gingray

    Grr should have been ww2, cheers for pointing out. There would have been no shame in missing out on ww1

  • Gerry Leddy

    Makes sense to have 2 entities that served proudly together in the coalition gathered by George W Bush, for Iraq 2 to exercise together.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes alan i do agree with all of that. I am just trying to say really that Unionisms negotiating hand is stronger at present while they have numbers, 20 years from now they may not have as much clout.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ging, the nationalist parties cannot really present an image over the heads of Dublin /London. It would be a pointless exercise if their suggestions were to be rebuffed which they most certainly would at this point. A vote is at least ten years away. Anything can happen in that time. Better to wait untill the social and political demographics allign more closely, then there would be a reasonable justification for presenting the public with ideas. However it would be wrong to think that the parties are not working and thinking on it in the background.

  • Alan N/Ards

    If no nationalist party is prepared to bring forward proposals on what a new Ireland might look like, then who do unionists engage with? No one is making the effort. The last time was the New Ireland Forum, which seems like a life time ago.

  • Robin Keogh

    But we also need to know what sort of new ireland unionists could live in. The time is not right for nationalism to make assumptions over the heads of Unionism, Dublin and London. There has to be a trigger of sorts that has a mobilising affect such as a surge in the nationalist vote for example. As it is, political Unionism is srangled by the extremes of the TUV and UKIP attacking compromise at every turn. Moreover, loyalist instability is a serious concern for the security forces. Dublin and Londin are both trying to balance the books and improve the economic landscape. London is just recovering from the Scots vote and struggling with issues over Europe. Having said all that, we know that SF have stated a preference for a federal state, the SDLP have argued for an agreed formula with Unionists. Simply put, until some event creates an imperative that will focus all minds on future possibilities, it would be foolish and potentially dangerous for any party to unilaterally produce proposals.