Defence Forces win reprieve over age plan

Members of the Defence Forces who were due to lose their jobs as part of a plan to lower the military’s age profile have won a reprieve.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney wanted to remove privates or corporals from the Defence Forces after 21 years of service.

Many of those affected would have joined up in their late teens or early 20s and the association which represents them maintained that they would be thrown on the scrap heap after gaining massive experience and while still being fit to serve.

PDForra (Permanent Defence Forces Other Ranks’ Representative Association) tried to block the move by taking a claim under the conciliation and arbitration scheme in relation to the service limits for privates and corporals who enlisted after January 1, 1994.

The arbitrator’s findings were that any such implementation should be delayed for the next four years, during which time a review will take place.

In the meantime, it would give corporals in particular a chance to get promoted to sergeant, or the naval service equivalent of petty officer, which would allow them to continue working in the Defence Forces until they reached 50.

“The acceptance of the recommendations by the Government ensures the continued service of privates in receipt of group one and group two technician pay and all corporals for the next three to four years.

“Additionally, the increase in the upper service limit to 50 years of age for personnel in receipt of technician pay group three and above represents a significant increase in the potential career opportunities for the personnel involved, while ensuring a return on the significant investment in the training of these personnel,” said the PDForra deputy general secretary, Gerard Guinan.

However, the adjudicator recommended that upper service limits for new enlisted recruits would be capped at 15 years from now on, instead of the current 21.

Mr Guinan said it was anticipated that this would be balanced by a moderate increase in the upper service limits for all corporals and that future entrants will still find the Defence Forces an attractive career option.

Mr Coveney said that key elements of the Defence Forces’ manpower policy, such as the maintenance of an appropriate age profile among military ranks to meet the challenges of a modern military force, have been maintained with this finding.

“The adjudication strikes a reasonable balance on the need for regular throughput of personnel while also retaining appropriate experience and expertise,” said Mr Coveney.


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