27 Infantry Battalion (Ireland)
|27 Infantry Battalion|
Unit flash of the 27 Infantry Battalion
|Active||1 September 1973 – present|
|Part of||2nd Brigade|
|Headquarters||Aiken Barracks, Dundalk, County Louth|
|Colors||Saffron & Purple|
|Lt Gen Louis Hogan DSM (1973-1976)
Lt Gen Dermot Earley DSM (1995-1997)
The 27 Infantry Battalion (27 Inf Bn; Irish: 27ú Cathlán Coisithe) is one of the seven infantry battalions of the Irish Army. The battalion was established on 1 September 1973 and forms part of the 2nd Brigade. The Battalion Headquarters is at Aiken Barracks, in Dundalk, County Louth.
Following the outbreak of violence in the north of Ireland in 1969, known as The Troubles, the Irish Government sent soldiers to the border area. Initially four company sized infantry groups were formed to operate along the border, however as the troubles escalated and with no end in sight it was decided to establish two infantry battalions as a permanent replacement for the border infantry groups. On 1 September 1973 the 27 Infantry Battalion and 28 Infantry Battalion were established.
From its activation the 27 Infantry Battalion's Headquarters, Headquarters Company and A Company have been based in Dundalk. B Company was based in Gormanston, C Company in Cootehill and Support Company in Castleblaney. C Company was later disestablished. In 1998 B and SP Companies were based in Monaghan until they both moved to Dundalk in 2009. In 2012 B Company was based again in Gormanston. In 2013 three reserve Companies were added to the Battalion's establishment: C Company - Cavan, D Company - Dundalk, and E Company - Navan.
The first officer commanding of the 27 Infantry Battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Louis Hogan. Hogan along with his second in command designed the battalion flash. The flash symbolism is based on the Irish mythological warrior Cúchulainn, given the relevance to the battalions area of operations and headquarters. The sword and two spears represent those presented to Cúchulainn by King Conchobar. The shape of the flash incorporates the angular sloped armour of the Panhard M3 armoured personnel carrier used by the battalion. The colours are saffron and purple. The saffron represents the colour of the cloaks worn by Irish mythical warriors the Fianna and purple is the traditional colour of infantry. The battalion march is Clare's Dragoons, chosen by Louis Hogan who was originally from County Clare.
The 27 Infantry Battalion celebrated 40 years since its establishment with a parade in Dundalk town on 31 August 2013.
Border and Aid To Civil Powers
Throughout the troubles the 27 Infantry Battalion's largest commitment was providing checkpoints on border crossings in support to the Garda Síochána. Support to the Gardaí was known as Aid To Civil Powers (ATCP). Other ATCP tasks include escorting large sums of cash, industrial explosives and high security prisoners as well as guarding Portlaoise Prison, Ireland's only high security prison. In 1979 the battalion provided security at Killineer near Drogheda during Pope John Paul II visit to Ireland. In 2011 the battalion secured Islandbridge area in Dublin during the Queen of Britain's state visit and the secured Dublin airport for US president Barack Obamas visit a few days later.
Aid To Civil Authority
Another role carried out by the 27 Infantry Battalion is Aid To Civil Authority (ATCA). In 1978 and again in 1987 the battalion provided an emergency fire fighting service when Dundalk Fire Brigade went on strike. In 2001 the battalion was deployed to assist during the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. In late 2010 during heavy snow and a deep freeze that lasted weeks the battalion was deployed to assist in snow relief efforts, clearing snow throughout Dundalk and Drogheda town centers as well as transporting nurses to hospitals.
Soldiers of the 27 Infantry Battalion have served in numerous Peacekeeping missions around the world, most notably in Lebanon since 1978 where two of the battalions members died in service of peace, Private Patrick Wright in 1988 and Private Michael McNeela who was killed in action in 1989.
C Company (Reserve) - Cavan.
D Company (Reserve) - Dundalk.
E Company (Reserve) - Navan.