The association representing soldiers, sailors and air corps personnel says it does not believe the Army will be called out if the gardaí go on strike next month.

At its annual conference in Cork which commenced this evening, the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) said, however, its members will follow orders if directed to police the streets.

Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe also said he does not envisage a situation where the Defence Forces will be called out during industrial action by gardaí.

The Garda Representative Association last month voted to take industrial action following the rejection of pay proposals negotiated with the Department of Justice.

The GRA said the action by rank-and-file gardaí includes "a unilateral withdrawal of services" on 4, 11, 18 and 25 November.

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PDFORRA, meanwhile, has accused the Government of ignoring UN medical experts on the use of the anti-malaria drug Lariam, which is issued to Irish troops serving abroad.

It said that while the authorities believe it provides the best protection against malaria, Ireland is not following UN guidelines by providing an alternative for its personnel.

Lariam's acknowledged side effects can be severe and include anxiety, depression, paranoia and suicidal behaviour.

PDFORRA added that most of those scheduled to take it would rather not.

Two months ago, drug manufacturer Roche informed the Defence Forces that for commercial reasons it was discontinuing the supply of the drug to the Irish market.

PDFORRA General Secretary Gerry Rooney has said in cases such as this the UN advises an alternative drug be made available.

Mr Rooney claims the Government is ignoring UN medical experts and PDFORRA wants to know why.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Rooney said soldiers who are sent to Africa on short visits are given alternatives to Lariam. 

He said that the drug is very effective but that a choice should be available as some people are very sensitive to the anti-malaria drug. 

In the UK, 1,000 former military personnel have required psychiatric treatment as a result of the after-effects of taking Lariam while the Department of Defence has received 51 claims in relation to the drug, proceedings for which have been issued in 38 cases.

However, the Department of Defence has said there are three anti-malarial drugs in use and those who are sensitive to Lariam are generally not deployed in sub-Saharan Africa.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil this afternoon: "There are no plans to withdraw Lariam from use by the Defence Forces."

The department has previously said there are no plans to withdraw the drug.