Category Archives: News


The following are some dates-for-your-diary.  Details of these events will either be posted on this website or will be available locally closer to their dates. 

  • National Day of Commemoration 

Members are encouraged to attend the National Day of Commemoration at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Sunday, 12 July.

  • The National Memorial Merrion Square

Throughout the coming summer a Ceremonial Military Guard will parade at the site of the 'National Memorial to Members of the Defence Forces who died in the Service of the State’. Ceremonies will take place at Archbishop Ryan Park, Merrion Square, Dublin, every Saturday, from 18 July to 22 August. The ceremony will begin at midday and will last for approximately one hour. Units from throughout the Defence Forces and across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service will participate in this Military Guard Ceremony in solemn remembrance of their fallen comrades.

  • Veterans’ Day

The Defence Forces Veterans’ Day will take place in Collins Barracks, Cork on Saturday, 12 September.


The ARCO AGM will be held on Friday, 2nd October in McKee Barracks, Dublin.

  • Carol Service Arbour Hill Church

The Annual Carol Service will take place on Wednesday, 9 December and has proven to be a very popular event with our members.

  • Defence Forces Annual Gala Concerts

Watch out for the dates and details of The Defence Forces Annual Gala Concerts: these are held in Dublin (The National Concert Hall) in the Defence Forces Training Centre (St. Brigid’s Garrison Church) and in Cork (The City Hall). 

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RACO Phone Offer

ARCO Members can now avail of the latest RACO phone offer provided they were members of RACO upon retirement or upon promotion to a rank not represented by RACO.

The offer works this way:

  • An ARCO member purchases a new phone or upgrades their Vodafone contract in a Vodafone shop or online.
  • When s/he has a contract in place with Vodafone, s/he can use the Word Document HERE to provide their details to ARCO. To do this the form should be filled out electronically and saved to a computer.
  • When completing the form ARCO members should enter 'ARCO' for the 'Company Name' and use their Defence Force number as the ‘ARCO Number'.
  • The saved form should be attached to an e mail giving your personal details and forwarded to ARCO at
  • ARCO will confirm eligibility with RACO.
  • On confirmation of eligibility from RACO Vodafone will apply the 20% discount to the account and member should see the discount on their next bill.

Details of the savings are available HERE.

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Welcome to the Website of the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO). ARCO was founded in 1993 and our purpose is to represent retired officers of the Permanent Defence Force of Ireland. We have some 800 members. Our main focus has always been on pension issues and our website enables us to provide members with information on this, along with details on a broad range of issues and events. To communicate effectively with our members we also publish two Newsletters every year, hold an Annual General Meeting in October and have developed a Texting Service.

To be successful, ARCO needs a continuous flow of new members and we urge serving officers, who are about to retire from the Permanent Defence Force, to join. ARCO will provide you with a continuity of representation and information into the future.

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McKee Officers Club

Officer Clubs and Associations. Many clubs and associations exist to continue the camaraderie experienced and enjoyed during service in the Defence Forces. Some of these cater for serving and retired officers of the PDF and RDF and include the Cavalry Club, Artillery Club, and Supply & Transport Club, which have club rules and are run by committees. Other looser social arrangements exist whereby serving and retired officers are invited by GOCs or Corps Directors to attend annual social events and dinners. Despite the challenges brought about by the recent restructuring of the Defence Forces and the integration and downsizing of the RDF, these clubs continue to facilitate the sharing of service experiences between retired and serving comrades. Importantly, they serve a special need by encouraging social contact among retired officers and other former colleagues.

McKee Officers’ Club. Uniquely amongst these clubs is McKee Officers’ Club whose membership is drawn from retired officers from both the Permanent and Reserve Defence Force. It is in essence a social club with an active social programme. Originally it was established to enable retired officers, who during their service had served in McKee Barracks or had been members of McKee Officers’ Mess, to continue their associate membership of that mess. At its November 2012 AGM the club changed its rules so that membership of McKee Officers' Club is now available to all retired commissioned officers who served in the Eastern Command or Eastern Brigade areas. This consolidated the fallout from Defence Forces' reorganisations over recent years, which included the change from Commands to Brigade areas, DFHQ relocation to Newbridge and in Nov 2012 the introduction of the two brigade organisational structure.

The Council of McKee Officers’ Club has sought the assistance of ARCO to advise all retired officers of the changes to its membership rules and ARCO is pleased to post this information on its website.

Retired officers interested in joining the club should contact the Hon Sec McKee Officers' Club, Col. Dermot J. Conway (Retd), at

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The Lazarus Community Forum

A new online forum has been launched in Ireland, which invites cancer patients to share their stories in order to help others cope with the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process. The Lazarus Community Forum is a unique way for cancer patients to express their thoughts and feelings on their condition.

The forum can be found at which is the website of Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC (Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Centre). Based in Multyfarnham in County Westmeath, LARCC is the only cancer support centre in Ireland that runs a residential programme.

Continue reading

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The September 2014 issue of RELATE, the Journal of Developments in Social Services, Policy and Legislation in Ireland, contains everything you need to know about water charges for domestic users. Click HERE to access a copy.

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‘An Coláiste’ A History of the Irish Military College

SINCE its establishment in 1930 the Irish Military College has had an important influence on not only the Defence Forces, but arguably on the nation. Its history has not yet been written. Colonel Tom Hodson (Retd) is currently researching, with the intention of publishing, such a history.

The story is intriguing. From its early predecessor, the Army School of Instruction to today’s modern institution, the College has aspired to fulfil the roles laid down in the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1923, in training and instructing:

  • Candidates for appointment to commissioned rank in the Forces.
  • Officers of the Forces, and
  • Such other Citizens as the Regulations may declare to be eligible for admission to the Institution.

The task has not been easy as the Military College has inevitably been subject to the many changes and fluctuations in the duties, roles and fortunes of the wider Defence Forces. 

In addition to recording these developments, Tom is interested in researching curricula, instruction and their importance and influence on the functions allotted to the Defence Forces by successive Governments. He would be very grateful therefore for contributions on any area of the Military College and its history, which members of ARCO might like to make to this research and publication.

He can be contacted at the following:


Phone: Home 01 6282412

           Mobile 087 7470678

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Were you stationed in Collins Barracks, Dublin?

The National Museum of Ireland has invited members of the Defence Forces, who served in Collins Barracks, Dublin, to share their experiences of what life was like there and to help contribute to the growing oral history archive of the barracks.

On Thursday 28th August, during Heritage Week, join Museum Educator Edith Andrees and share your experiences of life in Collins Barracks and, through recorded interviews, help the Museum uncover history that often goes unwritten.

Booking is essential – contact or telephone 01 6486453 (10am-5pm Monday – Friday).

If you can’t make it on the 28th August, but would still like to share your memories and stories, contact them at or telephone 01 6486453 (10am 5pm Monday – Friday).

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ARCO Members will have received a recent text welcoming them to ARCO's TEXTING SERVICE. This marks another step in our aim at improving communications with our members. If you are an ARCO member and did NOT receive a text from us, perhaps you might wish to confirm your mobile phone number by forwarding it, along with your name and address, via this link.

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Former Irish Cadets Commemorate 1963 JFK Funeral

On the 23nd November, 2013 eleven former members of the 37th Cadet Class of the Defence Forces, that formed a Guard of Honour at the graveside of President John F. Kennedy in Washington in 1963, will travel to Washington to commemorate the event. They will be accompanied by a colour party of an officer, five cadets and a piper. A number of spouses of the former cadets will also travel. At a brief ceremony the party will lay a wreath at President Kennedy’s grave on Monday the 25th November and also at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery, Washington. The Irish Ambassador to the United States will be present at the ceremony and will host a reception later that day in the Embassy. 


In 1963, at the request of Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy, 26 cadets stationed at the time in the Military College, Curragh, County Kildare flew to Washington with President de Valera (who was representing the State at the funeral) to perform funeral drill at the graveside of the assassinated President.  President Kennedy had witnessed the same funeral drill by members of the 36th Cadet Class at Arbour Hill during his visit to Ireland some months previously.

Prior to the wreath laying, the travelling group will assemble in Fort Myer, where the cadets were accommodated in 1963, and will present a replica of the 37th Class pennant to the Officer Commanding the Fort. Later a deactivated Number 4 Lee Enfield .303 rifle (the weapon carried by the cadets in 1963) will be presented to the authorities of Arlington National Cemetery.

The former cadets travelling to Washington are:

Col R. Heaslip (retd)

Col B. O’Reilly (retd)

Lt Col J Ahern (retd)

Lt Col R. Dunne (retd)

Capt T. Hickey (retd)

Comdt L. Quinlan (retd)

Lt Col P. McMahon (retd)

Comdt H. O’Donnell (retd)

Capt F. O’Callaghan (retd)

Col E. Moloney (retd)

Col W. Nott (retd)