Tag Archives: Statement

Statement from ARCO

Statement of Concern from the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO) on the serious deterioration of conditions of service and the depletion of strategic defence capabilities in the Defence Forces.

The Association of Retired Commissioned Officers feels obliged to express its deep concern at the progressive deterioration of the conditions of service of members of the Defence Forces, and its dramatic impact on depleting the strategic capabilities required to deliver the Government’s taskings, in the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service.

The Permanent Defence Force is currently struggling to cope with the continuous exodus of trained and experienced personnel of all ranks. The resulting depletion of leadership echelons and corporate military knowledge, is leading to a further strategic deterioration of defence capabilities, caused by the inability to retain personnel across all ranks having the necessary skills and competencies, and the challenges encountered with attracting appropriate personnel to the Defence Forces.

It is regrettable that the loyalty, commitment, contribution and immense personal sacrifices made by personnel in implementing the strategic downsizing and reorganization of the Defence Forces, is undermined and negated by the lack of meaningful Government action in providing appropriate remuneration and enduring conditions of service for personnel of Óglaigh na hÉireann.

For many who served in the years that led to the establishment of the Gleeson Commission, it is extraordinary that we are witnessing a return to a similar set of circumstances by way of active protest undertaken by retired personnel, and the families of serving personnel, highlighting unsatisfactory Defence Forces remuneration and conditions of service.

ARCO calls on the Government to ensure there is a meaningful engagement between the Department of Defence, the Military Authorities and Representative Associations to identify and develop policies that will address, without delay, the serious retention and remuneration issues that are undermining the Defence Forces operational readiness, coupled with the morale and well-being of its personnel.

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Minister for Defence’s Budget Statement

Statement by the Minister for Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., on Defence Budget 2012

Re-organisation of the Defence Forces
A major re-organisation of the Defence Forces will be initiated arising from the reduction in strength of the Permanent Defence Force to 9,500 personnel. This will include a reduction in the number of Army Brigades from the current three to two.

“Because the Defence Forces have downsized faster than the rest of the public service and are already 11% below the 2000 strength level, the Government have decided that there will be no further reduction below the level proposed in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. The strength will be maintained at 9,500 but there will be a major streamlining of the organisation. No further barrack closures are envisaged as part of this process.

In the context of the downsizing of the PDF, I have decided that a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces is now necessary in order to prioritise “front-line” service delivery. This will include a reduction in the number of Army Brigades from three to two which will free up military personnel from administrative and support functions. The reduction in the number of Army Brigades will require a re-defining of territorial areas of responsibility”.

“I have asked the Chief of Staff and Secretary General to bring forward detailed re-organisation proposals for my consideration. This will include proposals relating to the Reserve Defence Force, which is currently organised along similar lines to the Permanent Defence Force.”

“The task of the Defence Forces in 2012 is to make the changes necessary to continue to operate effectively across all of the assigned roles within the restricted financial allocation. I am confident that they will meet this challenge”.

Defence and Army Pensions

Gross Expenditure

2011 Budget Allocation

2012 Budget Allocation


(Army Pensions and Defence)




– Current




– Capital




– Total




The gross allocation in 2012 for Defence and Army Pensions combined is €902m, an overall reduction of 3.4% on the 2011 allocation. Defence provision for 2012 at €688m is €38m (5.2 %) below the 2011 estimate. The provision for Army Pensions for 2012 is €214m, an increase of €6.3m (3%) on the 2011 estimate.

The expenditure reductions of c. €38m will be achieved mainly through:

· Pay and allowance savings arising from reduced Defence Forces, Civil Service and Civilian Employee numbers. (Note: A Permanent Defence Force (PDF) strength of 9500 is provided for in 2012.)
· The planned reduction of expenditure on equipment and capital works across the Defence Forces. (The procurement of two new naval vessels will continue within the reduced allocation for Defence spending.)
· Organisational efficiencies associated with barrack closures will achieve additional non-pay savings.

Notes for Editors:
In the mid 1990’s it was decided to reduce the strength of the Permanent Defence Force to approx. 11,500 personnel, with the Army being organised into three Brigades each of approx 2,300 personnel as well as the Defence Forces Training Centre and other elements. The White Paper on Defence (2000) further reduced the strength of the Permanent Defence Force to 10,500 personnel and retained a three Brigade structure. As a result of the further reduction to 9,500 personnel it is now necessary to fundamentally revisit Defence Forces organisational structures including reducing the number of Brigades to two.

There are currently three Permanent Defence Force Army Brigades, 1 Southern Brigade with its Headquarters in Cork, 2 Eastern Brigade with its Headquarters in Dublin and 4 Western Brigade with its headquarters in Athlone. Each Army Brigade is comprised of a Brigade Headquarters with infantry, artillery, cavalry and other supporting units. In Ireland, each Brigade has a defined territorial area of responsibility.

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