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  • Soldiers Stress Report

    'Harassment' by civilians led border troops to suffer stress

    By Tom Brady Security Editor
    Friday March 07 2008


    A significant number of former soldiers who were based along the border during the Northern "Troubles" later suffered from stress-related problems, according to a report published yesterday.


    And harassment by local civilians was blamed as the most common cause of stress among the military.

    The study, commissioned by Onet, the organisation for ex-servicemen and women, found that many of them had been prescribed medication as a result of nervous disorders.

    The most common symptoms were outlined as irritability and anger, being upset by reminders of the past, estrangement from others, sleep difficulty and being constantly on guard.

    The report confirmed the long-held view that the Defence Forces were not prepared for conflict when it erupted in 1969 and that their equipment, training and conditions were not adequate to meet the needs of the border campaign.

    It also noted that:

    - Soldiers often had to work in cold and damp conditions and were called out at short notice with little rest between patrols.

    - Barracks conditions were primitive in the early days.

    - Family life was affected by long absences, fatigue and stress.

    - Many appeared to be suffering from trauma and stress.

    - Poor pay in the early days also added to the stress factor.

    - A large number had difficulty in adjusting to life outside the Defence Forces and often depended on the material support of family and friends.

    Based on the findings, the report called for an inter-agency approach, involving Onet, the military personnel support services, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Social and Community Affairs, to support former soldiers.

    Support

    It said the role of the personnel support services should be broadened and resourced to focus on and support the needs of people retiring from the Defence Forces.

    The report also suggested introducing a medal for service on the border, which, it said, might go some way towards recognising the contribution made by the border soldiers.

    And it advised the Department of Defence to develop a veterans' policy, with research undertaken to examine specific causal links between the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and experience of border duty.

    - Tom Brady Security Editor

    http://www.independent.ie/national-n...s-1308890.html

  • #2
    Well I cannot comment on what the conditions were like between 1969 and June 1976.

    but we had to put up with some of the conditions listed:

    Soldiers often had to work in cold and damp conditions and were called out at short notice with little rest between patrols.

    Part of the Job!! but it was difficult at times to wash and dry clothing as in Finner there was no laundry facilities in the early days.

    - Barracks conditions were primitive in the early days.

    Wooden huts, pot-belly stoves, a bed, pillow, 3 grey blankets, 2 sheets and a pillow case, washroom & Showers and toilets were one of the only two concrete and brick built structures in Finner at this time. The Dinning Hall was rat infested, and there were rats in the N.C.O.'s Mess and Officers Mess

    - Family life was affected by long absences, fatigue and stress.

    I was 90km from home in Castlebar, we got approximately one long weekend per month, day resting off after a Camp or outside guard, 1 weeks Patrol Leave, along with our 21 days Annual Leave, and the normal State Holidays (Christmas & Easter) where applicable, but married men were given first choice at this time. It also has to be said that the majority of soldiers were single men.

    - Many appeared to be suffering from trauma and stress.

    From what?? they were not involved in Combat, at this time many civilian were going off to work in the U.K., USA., and Australia, so should our ex-emegress get compensation??

    - Poor pay in the early days also added to the stress factor.

    Part of the Job, Food was basic admittedly but nobody was starving, and guys had enough money to enjoy the delights of Bundoran and Ballyshannon.

    - A large number had difficulty in adjusting to life outside the Defence Forces and often depended on the material support of family and friends.

    This can only be of relevance to over 21 year service men, who stayed single (affectionately known as "barrack-rats" I know of some who had to be ordered out of camp when on Annual Leave as they were not on the Ration Scale, many guys over the years got married and lived in the surrounding areas of Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Sligo, there was never any married quarters in Finner, Lifford or Rockhill House in Letterkenny.

    My replies are formed over my service in Finner Camp from June 1976 on and up until there was a major construction of new centrally-heated billets, new Cook-house Canteen, New Gym, etc..etc..
    With time came a raise in pay and conditions.

    Connaught Stranger.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by B Inman View Post
      It also noted that:

      - Soldiers often had to work in cold and damp conditions and were called out at short notice with little rest between patrols.

      - Barracks conditions were primitive in the early days.

      - Family life was affected by long absences, fatigue and stress.

      - Many appeared to be suffering from trauma and stress.

      - Poor pay in the early days also added to the stress factor.

      - A large number had difficulty in adjusting to life outside the Defence Forces and often depended on the material support of family and friends.
      Well you didn't have to serve on the border to put up with that sh1t. Kinda describes an FCA camp in Coolmooney in the 80s. But that's what soldiering was and is about. If you don't like it nobody forced you to stay so grow a pair of balls and stop whinging.


      Originally posted by B Inman View Post
      The report also suggested introducing a medal for service on the border, which, it said, might go some way towards recognising the contribution made by the border soldiers.
      That'll make it all better.
      sigpic
      Say NO to violence against Women

      Originally posted by hedgehog
      My favourite moment was when the
      Originally posted by hedgehog
      red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally Posted by B Inman View Post
        The report also suggested introducing a medal for service on the border, which, it said, might go some way towards recognising the contribution made by the border soldiers.
        More Bling-Bling Medals

        How about some for the Bank Strike, the Fire Strike,

        Exposure to cleaning chemicals in washing-up liquid etc..etc...

        Exposure to the salty air in Finner Camp.

        The Stress of preparing for a G.O.C.s Inspection.

        Smoke Inhalation from burning bogs and Forestrys ( a real occurrence in the long hot summers of the 1970's)

        Connaught Stranger
        Last edited by Connaught Stranger; 7 March 2008, 11:29.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ching ching.... I smell more free money!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Seriously though lads, never mind the stuff being put up on u-tube or the crap pictures on someones bebo page. This stuff makes the army look like a bunch of whinging b*&%$h's.

          My old man served up there during the "troubles" and as far as he was concerned, it was part of the job, and if you couldnt hack it you could always leave.

          But in view of these statements and the smell of free money, i might be able to get him to change his mind. afterall, I could do with a new car.............................
          Woo Hoo, finally moderated!!!!! In that select band of people who speak their mind instead of being sheep!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by spudula View Post
            Ching ching.... I smell more free money!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            .......But in view of these statements and the smell of free money, i might be able to get him to change his mind. afterall, I could do with a new car.............................
            Get out and earn some money and buy your own, you sod !!!
            "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Truck Driver View Post
              Get out and earn some money and buy your own, you sod !!!
              I already have a nice one but wouldnt mind a new one if the ministers paying for it.
              Woo Hoo, finally moderated!!!!! In that select band of people who speak their mind instead of being sheep!

              Comment


              • #8
                Wooden huts, pot-belly stoves, a bed, pillow, 3 grey blankets, 2 sheets and a pillow case, washroom & Showers and toilets were one of the only two concrete and brick built structures in Finner at this time.
                Sounds like the Glen up to untill around 3 years ago except they didn't have the pot-belly's and the dining hall, the area around the BTW was concrete.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great stuff from the experts who served on the border.... well done guys... great imput!!...
                  "There is nothing braver then the heart of a volunteer" Lt. Col. Dolittle, USAC, 1941.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeV View Post
                    Sounds like the Glen up to untill around 3 years ago except they didn't have the pot-belly's and the dining hall, the area around the BTW was concrete.
                    Yeah but many people who went to the Glen were on a visit and got out for good behavior

                    We on the other hand were condemned to a life of misery, Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo.

                    Connaught Stranger

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Exo1 View Post
                      Great stuff from the experts who served on the border.... well done guys... great imput!!...
                      I served on teh border and this report is BOLLOCKS.
                      sigpic
                      Say NO to violence against Women

                      Originally posted by hedgehog
                      My favourite moment was when the
                      Originally posted by hedgehog
                      red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was jesting - the troops were doing a hard and difficult job. Long hours etc.

                        But the accomodiation in the areas nearer the border in the 90s at least was some of the best and most modern the DF had at the time.

                        The money wasn't great, it has improved.

                        Many former soldiers have ended up unemployed, homeless and have even taken their own lives as they haven't been able to adjust to civilian life. The DF provided rations, accomodiation, a "family" and when they left had nothing!

                        The creation of PSS and pre-retirement courses has helped prevent this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I spent 3 months in Dundalk in 74.... accomadation was a prefab 40 bunks, 20 over 20, heating was gas but most of the heaters did not work and it was freezing. Web equipment was no existant 39 pattern web belt 44 pattern helmet and ww11 respirator bag with a more modern type respirator... cant remember the type. If it rained we had poncho's but the water ran off the end and drenched your lower legs...

                          I never suffered harrassment but I was living in... commonsense meant that we stayed out of certain pubs "Kays Tavern" is one that comes to mind.. if you did wander in by accident the "souviners of Long Kesh" displayed on the walls and the hostile stare of everyone in there would give you a hint that it might be better to choose another place for a drink.. At this time long hair was in fashion for gents and the only people with short hair were soldiers and Gardai... so we were noticable....

                          In 77 3 months in Cootehill.... accomadation was cramped but modern... it was a seminary for missionary priests and had being taken over by the DF..
                          The post was about a 20 minute walk out of Cootehill at Tanagh.... After Cootehill... Monaghan the barracks was not long open and was state of the art.. accomadation was great... as a Cpl I had my own bunk and most of the rooms were 4 or 6 man. Senior NCO's had rooms on the top floor of the NCO's mess..
                          At this time there was a Cav Det there from the 1st Cav Sqn in Fermoy who rotated every couple of months... they had AML 60s I don't remember any 90,s
                          Last edited by B Inman; 7 March 2008, 22:28.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeV View Post
                            I was jesting - the troops were doing a hard and difficult job. Long hours etc.

                            But the accomodiation in the areas nearer the border in the 90s at least was some of the best and most modern the DF had at the time.

                            The money wasn't great, it has improved.

                            Many former soldiers have ended up unemployed, homeless and have even taken their own lives as they haven't been able to adjust to civilian life. The DF provided rations, accomodiation, a "family" and when they left had nothing!

                            The creation of PSS and pre-retirement courses has helped prevent this.
                            Hallo DeV

                            Can you give any concrete figures for the number of suicides committed by former members of the Defence Forces? by year and number?

                            The only "problem group" I remember ever being commented upon were from the 60's & 70's era who had come from State institutions like orphanages, enlisted in the military (another state institution they felt comfortable with,) and at the end of their service left to fend for themselves in civvie street often with tragic consequences.

                            As for being unemployed and homeless, this could be said about those who had developed a liking for the bottle, but probably would have drank no matter what their circumstances.

                            For the majority, I believe the military would have taught a man how to conduct himself, in a clean and tidy manner and a healthy respect for the law and public order and a good chance to get on in civvie street.

                            And of course the creation of an Association with accommodation for former soldiers is a great help, (pity the first one was in Dublin though, which would have been very little benefit to men who had served their lives in the North-west, South-east, or in the center of the country. Could somebody please say how many such places exist in the country today?

                            Connaught Stranger.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No just ancedoctal evidence. ONE have in the recent past expanded its accomodation outside Dublin.

                              Also there is no mention of this report on their website.

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