Government to spend over €200k on new army bands uniforms
THE Government are set to spend more than €200,000 on 240 ceremonial and band uniforms for the Defence Forces.
The "bespoke tailor-made to measure" regalia will be worn by some of the 123 all rank members of the Defence Forces School of Music.
The No 1 Army Band, Band of 1st Brigade, Band of 2nd Brigade and members of the Irish Army Pipe Band will all be kitted out in the suits.
The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is currently overseeing a tender process for the uniforms which closes later this month.
A spokesperson says the uniforms, which will have a life span of "three to four years", will cost in the region of €204,000 plus VAT.
This puts the estimated cost for one suit at €1,045.
As part of the Government reform programme on Procurement the OGP are sourcing the goods on behalf of the Defence Forces and other Public sector bodies.
Soldiers who accompany dignitaries and heads of state on motorbikes will also get new garb under the three-year uniform scheme.
Up to 29 "escort of honour uniforms" will be made for officers from 2nd Cavalry Squadron based in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines.
Personnel from all ranks here are assigned the duty on a rotational basis.
In 2013 and 2014 the squadron completed the duties 21 and 27 times respectively.
Meanwhile, personnel from the Army No 1 Band, Band of 1st Brigade and the Band of 2nd Brigade made 527 public appearances.
The No 1 Band has performed at all major ceremonial occasions since the foundation of the State.
Established in 1923, the group was founded after then Chief of Staff General Richard Mulcahy called for "bands that will dispense music in the highest terms to the people."
The musicians have played at all presidential inaugurations from that of President Douglas Hyde to the present day.
The band's engagement schedule now includes attendance at Aras an Uachtarain for Presentation of Credentials ceremonies of newly appointed ambassadors.
Notably, they played both the British and Irish national anthems during Queen Elizabeth's historical visit in May 2011.
On a sadder note they also lead musical tributes at official State funerals.
Known for their crisp uniforms and upbeat melodies the military bands are also an essential ingredient in St Patrick's Day celebrations across the country.