Members of the Defence Forces have been warned to be ready for immediate deployment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The update to Defence Forces operational status will come into force from this coming Monday March 16th.
All non-essential activities are being cancelled with members ordered to have their packs prepared for 72 hours in the field and be ready for “immediate notice to move.”
A Defence Forces spokesperson said the focus now is to “maximise our preparedness to respond to requests for assistance from the civil authorities.”
“Protecting our personnel is our priority and is key to maintaining our capability to provide support to communities and civil authorities, when requested,” he said.
It is believed to be the first time the Defence Forces has issued the order since the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001.
For operational security reasons, the forces will not comment on specific dispositions of troops.
It comes just a day after the Defence Forces signed a deal for 120 new 4x4 troop-carrying vehicles.
The trucks can be deployed to help with civil authority activities during flooding, extreme weather events or other emergencies.
The cost of the contract, awarded to Westward Scania, will be €24.6m.
The new trucks will replace the current fleet, which entered service between 1998 and 2003.
The first trucks are scheduled for delivery in 2020, with delivery of all 120 vehicles by 2023.
Additional reporting from Michael Staines