Medical Corps
Irish: An Cór Liachta
Country Ireland
TypeMedical corps
RoleMedical support
Part of
Defence Forces
Motto(s)Comraind Legis
(Middle Irish for "equal division of healing")

The Medical Corps (MED) (Irish: An Cór Liachta)[1] is the medical corps of the Irish Army, a branch of the Irish Defence Forces, responsible for the provision of health promotion, medical and dental support to forces while on exercise and deployment.

Because it is not a fighting arm (non-combatant), under the Geneva Conventions, members of the corps may only use their weapons for self-defence.


The corps has its own insignia, designed by George Sigerson and TJ McKinney around various symbols of medicine and healing from Irish mythology.[2] Its badge displays the words "Óglaigh na hÉireann" (the name of the Defence Forces in Irish) on a scroll at the top. At the bottom is another scroll with the corps' motto, "Comraind Legis". This Middle Irish phrase is a quotation from the Táin Bó Cuailgne, and is equivalent to modern Irish "comhroinn leighis"; it translates as "equal division of healing", referring to the impartial treatment of the wounded that the main characters of the Táin gave to each other in nocturnal truces between battles.[2]

In the centre is a silver hand, referring to Nuada Airgetlám, the mythological chieftain of the Tuatha Dé Danann who lost his hand in battle and had an artificial silver hand made to replace it, designed by Dian Cecht, the god of healing.[2][3]

The scrolls are joined on each side by a staff about which a serpent is entwined. These do not represent the rod of Aesculapius (the Graeco-Roman mythological symbol of medicine), but rather the staff of Moses. They refer to the legend that the ancestor of the Gaels, Goídel Glas, and his people encountered the Israelites in the desert while the Israelites were suffering a plague of vipers. Goídel Glas was bitten by a viper, and Moses used his staff to cure him.[2]


Two teams from the Central Medical Unit (CMU) of the Medical Corps took part in the response to the West African Ebola virus epidemic under Operation Gritrock from 2014 onward, alongside UK and Canadian military medical personnel.[4]

During 2020, as part of Ireland's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedics from the Army Medical Corps assisted in staffing ambulances with the HSE National Ambulance Service and Dublin Fire Brigade in order to increase capacity.[5]

During the Defence Forces re-Organisation in 2012 the Medical Corps became the Central Medical Unit (CMU).[citation needed]

CMU is broken into the following detachments, all of which are under the command of CMU HQ which is based in Saint Bricins Hospital Dublin;[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Cór an Airm - An Cór Liachta". Defence Forces. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Doolin, William (1952). Dublin's Medical Schools: A Biographical Retrospect. Burroughs Wellcome & Co (The Wellcome Foundation). Front matter. ASIN B0007JLUX0. OL 20312812M.
  3. ^ "Irish Society of Military Medicine". Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  4. ^ Mudiwa, Lloyd (15 January 2015). "Army medical team deployed to Sierra Leone". Irish Medical Times. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Army on standby to help with outbreaks of Covid-19 / coronavirus". KildareNow. 7 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.