Haulbowline-based naval service personnel test positive for illegal drugs – Irish Examiner

It is understood military police conducted an operation at the naval service headquarters in Haulbowline last week. File Picture: Larry Cummins
About a dozen naval service personnel have tested positive for drugs following a sweep of their headquarters by military police.
The unannounced swoop happened last Monday. The Irish Examiner understands some personnel had tested positive for cannabis and others for more serious ‘Class A’ drugs, such as cocaine.
Those selected for drug tests had been picked at random following a draw based on the first letter of their surnames.
It is understood the results have come as a shock to senior commanders in the navy, though some military sources said they were not surprised when considering the context of drug use among younger people in wider society.
However, serving military personnel have access to weapons and there have been instances of ‘high’ military personnel firing on their own colleagues at installations in America, Britain, Russia, and China in recent years.
The Defence Forces press office would not officially confirm the number of personnel who had tested positive for drugs at the naval service. It said the Defence Forces has been conducting compulsory random drug testing since 2003.
It is understood that those who have tested positive have a 28-day window of appeal, which, if unsuccessful, will result in them getting kicked out of the Defence Forces.
Any more loss of personnel will throw the navy into further crisis as it is already short about 200 personnel of the minimum number required to operate ships. Two ships are already mothballed as a result.
The Defence Forces told the Irish Examiner the unlawful possession, supply, or use, of a controlled drug is incompatible with membership of the country’s military.
The only exception to mandatory drug testing in the Defence Forces are chaplains or those in its nursing services.
“Each year, the Defence Forces conduct a random draw to determine what units and locations will be tested and to also determine what letter [first of surname] gets picked out as to who gets tested,” a Defence Forces spokesman said.
“We conduct a minimum target of 10% of the Permanent Defence Forces and 10% of the Reserve Defence Forces under CRDT each year. We do not comment on how we actually carry out compulsory random drug testing for operational security reasons.”

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