Minister for the Defence Forces Willie O’Dea officiated at an army commissioning ceremony in Co Kildare where a fifth of the cadets were women.
Mr O’Dea and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Jim Sreenan, were attending the ceremony of the 81st Cadet Class in the training centre in th Curragh.
As he announced over the weekend that the minimum restrictions for the Defence Forces were being lowered, the minister said: “I am very pleaed to note that over 20% of these cadets are women. I remain determined that positive message about careers in the Defence Forces is received by young women.”
On the back of a report from military officials, the minimum height requirement was reduced from 5’4” to 5’2” in order to increase the number of female members who currently make up only 5% of the 10,500 strong permanent force.
It is believed this will increase the potential female recruitment pool by 9,000 as the current minimum height requirement of 5’4” could only be met by 60% of all 18-year-olds.
Further research has been initiated on the recruitment and retention of women in the Defence Forces, which will examine women’s attitudes to military life and careers.