Fort Blaire Mayne 1st Battalion The Royal Irish RegimentGoogle Images

Read more: Irish joining British Army in large numbers
More Irish people than ever before are joining the British Army because of hard economic times.

Recruitment from Northern Ireland in 2006 featured 4 per cent of applicants with addresses in the Republic. That figure grew to 16 per cent by 2008 and is now estimated at close to 40 per cent from the Republic .

Applicants who fail to land jobs with the Irish Army  are turning to the Queen’s regiments when they fail to land a place with the armed forces at home.

The Irish Independent reports that the Irish Army, Navy and Aer Corps received 79 applications for every officer cadetship available in the past 12 months.

Many who were turned down have applied to the British army instead.

That startling statistic is believed to be part of the reason why record numbers of Irish people are applying to join the British Army with applicant levels up by 10 per cent every year for the last six years.

“The numbers applying for positions in the Defence Forces has soared in the past two years, with 1,000 applications received in one week alone last year.” a spokesman said

One British army source told the Independent newspaper that: “Recruits from the Republic are especially prized because most boast a decent education and all want to make the military their career.

“It is no surprise that a significant number of non-commissioned officers are from Ireland.”

 Read more: Irish joining British Army in large numbers