10 July 2012
RTÉ acts as recruiting sergeant for British Army?
'It shall not be lawful for any person . . . to print within the state . . . any notice or advertisement in relation to the procurement of personnel for any military, naval or air force maintained by the government of any other state'
RTÉ – the Irish state broadcaster – appears to have been breaking the law by carrying recruiting advertisements today for the British Army.
The advertisements were displayed prominently on the RTÉ News homepage. The ads encouraged people to “find out more” about a career in the British Army by following a link to its website.
Recruitment for foreign armies in the Irish state is outlawed by the Defence Act 1954, which says:
It shall not be lawful for any person –
(a) 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, or
(b) to print within the state or cause or procure to be printed within the state any notice or advertisement in relation to the procurement of personnel for any military, naval or air force maintained by the government of any other state, or
(c) to publish or cause or procure to be published within the state any such notice or advertisement as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this subsection which is printed within the state.
Article 4 of the Hague Convention on neutrality states:
Combatants cannot be formed nor recruiting agencies opened on the territory of a neutral power to assist the belligerents.
A previous attempt by the British Army to recruit unemployed young people at a careers fair in Limerick to serve as mercenaries was described as “appalling” by Sinn Féin Councillor Maurice Quinlivan.
“The British Army is actively engaged in wars and their recruitment activity in Ireland violates Irish sovereignty and neutrality,” he said at the time.
The advert appeared to have been removed from the RTÉ website this afternoon.