Thursday 29 June 2017

Saluting those serving in far, foreign lands

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Brigadier-General Gerald Aherne, of the Irish Army, commands the EU's Training Mission to Somalia. From a base in Kampala, Uganda, his tiny 12-man team has trained 3,500 members of the Somali Army. This weekend, his trainees may get a short break.

That's because the Brigadier-General will almost certainly be checking out Cork's GAA fortunes, having played Gaelic football for Cork minors and captained the winning team of 1972. I know this, having checked out his career for a piece I planned to write on Alan Shatter's recent Green Paper on Defence.

Some of my research has been out-flanked by a faster-moving column commanded by Conor Brady writing in the Irish Times last Thursday. But while I agree with all that Brady says – particularly his warning against conflating the roles of the Army and gardai – I have a few things to add. Let me start with a quibble with his assumption that Ireland is neutral.

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