The Irish army is carrying out tests on a number of new weapons at the Curragh in county Kildare to decide which become chosen assault rifle.
For the past 26 years the army has been using the Belgian FN rifle, having previously used the old British 303 Lee–Enfield rifle. A smaller, lighter weapon is now being adopted by countries in the West including Ireland.
Representatives of various arms manufacturers have visited Ireland recently and have carried out discussions at the Department of Defence in Dublin. To date, the department has given no indication as to which manufacturer will be awarded the contract, valued at around £6 million, to supply the Irish army.
During the selection process the army have been testing nine different rifles. The new Belgian FN, the Galil used by the Israelis in South Lebanon, the West German Heckler & Koch, the FAMAS 5,56 used by the French army, the US COLT M16A2, as well as rifles from Switzerland, Austria and Britain. The results of the tests will be carefully analysed before a decision is made.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 12 March 1987. The reporter is Tom McCaughren.