Friday 19 January 2018

Army reserves at war over 'yellow-pack' berets

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE cap fits but a small group of the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) don't want to wear it.

A green patch is to be placed behind the badge on the red beret worn by the Military Police Corps of the RDF

Defence Minister Alan Shatter said the patch will ensure there is a "clear differentiation" between reserve and full-time military police.

The cost of the change is €1,052 including VAT -- and it will affect 200 Reserves.

But some reserves claim the change demotes the volunteers to "yellow-pack soldiers".

A reserve who did not wish to be named has criticised the "hat patch" distinction between reserves and regular army personnel.

"Why should we have to wear different hats from the rest of them? We're doing the same job and we should be treated the same.

"If we look different, we're leaving ourselves open to people not taking us seriously," he said.

He has written a letter to Minister for Public Sector Reform Brendan Howlin, highlighting the issue, as well as the "serious loss" of young members of the RDF because of emigration.

Defence Forces spokesman Commandant Neil Nolan said the introduction of the green patch was "designed to correct an anomaly that has existed since the year 2000".

"Previously, RDF Military Police were mistaken for Permanent Defence Force (PDF) Military Police, which has caused difficulties during investigations.

"Other Corps of the RDF wear a different headdress to the PDF," he added in a statement. He said the RDF made an "important contribution" to the permanent forces and their communities.

However, he said RDF personnel train on a part-time basis and have a "certain level of capability appropriate to that training". "

Mr Shatter stated the issue of dress was a matter "for the military authorities in the first instance".

Irish Independent

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