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Union chief says Irish Army uniform shortage a ‘disgrace’

Members of the Irish armed forces take part in Ireland's first military parade in 35 years, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter rebellion against British rule in Ireland on April 16, 2006.
Members of the Irish armed forces take part in Ireland's first military parade in 35 years, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter rebellion against British rule in Ireland on April 16, 2006.

DUBLIN – Legend has it that Celtic warriors once charged into battle naked. Things aren’t that bad in the modern Irish army, but its union chief says soldiers must wage a daily battle for uniforms.

Mark Scally says the difficulty of finding clothes that fit has become so dire that, before the state funeral of a former prime minister this year, soldiers had to scramble to borrow colleagues’ uniforms, switching labels and rank badges to assemble an honour guard. He says some soldiers wait more than a year to receive a properly tailored “No. 1” uniform for ceremonial duties.

“It’s a disgrace,” said Scally, president of the union that represents 8,500 members of the Irish Defence Forces,unifor.

The commander, Lt. Gen. Conor O’Boyle, said Thursday he hadn’t been informed of any problem.

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