According to a recent newspaper article, the Irish defence forces have been exempted from the cuts in numbers imposed on the rest of the public service. I thought this was an interesting decision, considering the fact that Ireland is not currently at war with anyone or facing an external military threat. Indeed, even internally, paramilitary violence is at a historically low level.
Why, then, in the face of an economic crisis, would a government decide to ring-fence the numbers of soldiers it keeps, while cutting the police force?
Perhaps the soldiers are needed to plant flowers, or to tidy up badly-littered areas of our towns and cities. Maybe they’re needed to help old ladies across the road. Could it be that we have a shortage of stewards at fund-raising 10k runs?
Of course it could. Any of the above might be the reason that a bankrupt government facing the danger of civic disorder might decide not to cut the military while all other public bodies are being slashed.
What do you think? Flowers? Litter? Mini-marathons?
Personally, I think it might be all three.