A Limerick jobs centre funded by the 26-County Administration body FAS has had to be be ordered to stop promoting careers in the British army, a criminal offence under the 26-County Defence Act of 1954.
Jobseekers on the north side of Limerick city received letters alerting them to positions available in “the Royal Irish Army”. The jobs are actually in the infamous Royal Irish Regiment (RIR), the infantry unit of the British Army which evolved from the murderous Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).
The relevant act states that anyone attempting “to induce, procure or persuade any person in the state to accept or agree to accept any commission or engagement in any military, naval or air force maintained by the government of any other state is liable to a large fine and/or six months in prison.
The regiment is currently recruiting, in contrast to the Irish defence forces, which are subject to the public service recruitment moratorium.
The RIR was the successor to the Ulster Defence Regiment, which itself succeeded the even more notorious B-Specials.
The letters were sent out by the Moyross-based Millennium Jobs Club.
When unemployed people with the Jobs Club received the letter, they were obliged to inquire about the position as failure to respond could result in them being removed from the register and losing their dole payments.
The letter caused serious concern among several families.
Irish neutrality and sovereignty have been violated by the move, said local Sinn Fein Councillor Maurice Quinlivan.
He said when he expressed his opposition, he was told that it would be good to “instil discipline in [unemployed youths]”.
“As unemployment grows the danger is that more young Irish people will be duped into joining this mercenary force,” he said.
“Indeed I was told that it was a ‘Northern Irish Regiment’ as if such a thing existed outside the British Army.
“It is disgraceful that a local Jobs Club which is funded by taxpayers’ money is attempting to recruit young people to join the British Army. In fact I overheard one conversation between the Jobs Club employee and one young lad, who thought it was the Irish Army he was joining. When he expressed the view that he had a problem serving in the British Army, he was told to ‘Try it out you might like it!’”