In the late 1980s, the ‘army crisis’ dominated headlines and media in Ireland. Complaints of poor pay, low morale and unsatisfactory conditions for those serving in the Defence Forces were growing louder against the background of a government that were accused of being indifferent and an army hierarchy of being incapable.
From amidst the turmoil, a group of women step up to pursue the rights of their men. Political crisis follows a general election and an independent commission, established to examine the Defence Forces, ignores the call for soldiers to acquire their own representative body.
The government and army move to enforce their own brand of representation. Meanwhile engagement with European military associations, EU Council resolutions, and pressure on an incoming President brings matters to a crescendo.
One serving member of the Defence Forces breaks ranks and takes the State and the Army to the High Court in a constitutional challenge on his right of association that will change the state of civil military relations in Ireland forever.
This book reveals for the first time, the deep seated philosophies, tensions and reservations between Ireland’s military and its government from the foundation of the State to the present day. It explores in detail the events that led to the successful pursuit of the democratic right of association for members of the armed forces in Ireland. It articulates the concept of the citizen in uniform and the special relationship between members of the armed forces and society.