THE IRISH DEFENCE Forces are set to spend €140,000 on branded merchandise, including silicone wristbands, insulated coffee cups, mobile phone PopSockets, and shopping trolley tokens.

The goods – which also include protein shakers, leather notebooks and a range of clothing – will feature the military logo and slogans including “BE MORE” and “Strengthen the Nation”, according to newly published tender documents.

A selection of branded stationery is also being sought by the Defence Forces as part of the tender, including metallic pens, notebooks with sticky tabs, and pencil cases containing pencils, rulers and erasers.

Personnel numbers in the Defence Forces recently hit a historic low of 7,987, and naval ships have been unable to operate as a result of not having enough crew members to go to sea.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has promised to take a “radical look” at the recruitment crisis and raise numbers to a minimum level of 9,500.

The defence budget was increased by €67 million this year to €1.174 billion.

A total of €140,000 plus VAT is expected to be spent on branded merchandise by the Defence Forces following a tendering process that will close for submissions on February 27.

Separate contracts will be awarded for clothing, stationery, accessories and miscellaneous items.

The branded clothing products will include beanie hats, T-shirts, unisex hoodies, and neck scarves or snoods available in both black and camouflage colours.

Accessories include silicone wristbands, which will have embossed or printed lettering reading “BE MORE” or “Strengthen the Nation”.

The quantity required is not provided, but the Defence Forces have sought quotations for orders of up to 4,501.

Quotations for similar quantities of branded PopSockets have also been sought under the tender.

These are attachments that stick to the back of a mobile phone to give the user a better grip when using the device.

Other items that will be procured under the tender include drawstring bags, umbrellas, and tokens that can be used instead of €1 or €2 coins in supermarket shopping trolleys.

These should be made from a durable, non-plastic material and come with a clip and a keyring, according to the tender documents.

Water bottles with sports caps and a capacity of between 600ml and 750ml will also bear the Defence Forces logo and slogans, along with insulated coffee cups, “keep-cool” water containers, and protein shakers.

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