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.

Category: News | Tags:

ARCO’s 25th Anniversary

On 24 June 1994, ARCO was launched in the Constitution Room of the Shelbourne Hotel, followed by a reception in Dublin’s Mansion House.

As such, 2019 marks the Association’s 25 years of steadfast service to the Defence Community.

The Minister of State with Responsibility for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe TD, marked the event by sending a formal letter to the President of ARCO.  To view the Minister’s letter, download here.

Category: Events | Tags: ,

Col. Maurice Walsh RIP

ARCO regrets to inform its members of the death of Colonel Maurice Walsh of Ballintemple, Cork and Fermoy. On October 14, 2019, peacefully, at Cork University Hospital. Dearly loved husband of Frances (nee Crotty) and loving father of Fionnuala, Clíona, Shane and Sláine. Sadly missed by his loving wife and family, sister Nancy, brother Sean, sons-in-law Paul, Jim and Paul, daughter-in-law Carmel, grandchildren Oisín, Tiarnán, Rebecca, Caomh, Caoilfhionn, Odhran, Ronan, Alliemay, Amelia and Kaspar, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis

Maurice joined the Defence Forces as a Cadet with 32 Cadet Class in January 1958 and was appointed a Troop Commander with 1 Motor Squadron at Fitzgerald Camp, Fermoy on commissioning.  He served in staff appointments at Headquarters Southern Command, 3 Brigade Headquarters and 1 Brigade Headquarters.  He commanded 1 Motor Squadron from 1980 to 1983 and 3 Cavalry Squadron from 1984 to 1988.  On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel he served as a Senior Staff Officer in appointments in Southern Command Headquarters and in Training Section at Defence Forces Headquarters.  Promoted to Colonel in 1993 and he was appointed Brigade Commander 4 Brigade, Western Command.  He returned to Cork in 1994 as Brigade Commander 1 Brigade.  He retired in February 1998 as Second-in-Command and Executive Officer Southern Command.

Maurice served overseas with the UN in the Congo on two occasions as a Lieutenant with the Armoured Car Group 37 Infantry Battalion in 1962 and with 2 Armoured Car Squadron in 1963.  He served in Cyprus with the Armoured Car Group 12 Infantry Group in 1969 and in Lebanon in 1979 – 1980 as the Personal Staff Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff Operations with the UNIFIL.  He returned to Lebanon as Officer Commanding the Force Mobile Reserve in 1990 – 1991.  He served in the former Yugoslavia with the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in 1992 – 1993.

Lying in repose at the Temple Hill Funeral Home, Boreenmanna Road of Jerh. O’Connor Ltd. Removal at 8.30pm on Tuesday evening to St Joseph’s SMA Church, Blackrock Road. Requiem Mass at 2pm on Wednesday. Funeral afterwards to the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork. Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired to St Luke’s Home.

Category: Death Notices | Tags: ,

25th Anniversary Reception – ARCO

On 24th June 1994, the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO) was formally launched in the Constitution Room of the Shelbourne Hotel, followed by a reception in Dublin’s Mansion House.

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its foundation, the Association is hosting a reception in The Stephen’s Green Club, 9, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, on Wednesday, 16th October at 1830 hrs. The Lord Mayor will be in attendance, and Senator Michael McDowell SC will be our Guest Speaker. See attached notification.

For registration purposes, those members of ARCO who wish to attend the reception are requested to respond by email to: rsvparco25@gmail.com

Category: Events | Tags:

NFPA Demonstration – 01 October

Established in 1976, the National Federation of Pensioners Associations (NFPA) has twenty Pensioners Associations, including ARCO, currently affiliated to it. These represent in the region of 29,000 pensioners. The Federation includes Pensioners from the Public Service, Semi-State Bodies and from Private Industry.

NFPA aims to protect and promote the interests of pensioners and retired persons.

The NFPA is holding a demonstration at 1300hrs on Tuesday 01 October, outside Dáil Éireann, seeking “Arbitration, Representation and a Commissioner for Older People”. 

Members of ARCO wishing to participate are advised that assembly is at 1230hrs on Molseworth Street.

Category: News | Tags: ,

Defence Forces Values Awards

At a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin, on 11 September, President Michael D. Higgins presented the Defence Forces Values Awards. The awards are given to serving or retired Defence Forces personnel whose conduct exemplifies the standards of respect, loyalty, selflessness, physical courage, moral courage and integrity expected of members of the Defence Forces.

To read the speech delivered by President Higgins at the ceremony, please follow this LINK.

Category: News | Tags: ,

ARCO 25th Annual General Meeting



25th Annual General Meeting – McKee Barracks

1130hrs, Friday, 04 October 2019


  • Opening Address by President, ARCO
  • Minutes of 24th AGM – 05 October 2018
  • President’s Report
  • Report of the Hon. Secretary
  • Report of the Hon. Treasurer to include Audited Accounts
  • Report of the Hon. Membership Secretary
  • Appointment of Auditor and Trustees
  • Appointment of Officers, Regional Representatives
  • Executive Committee Motions
  • Any Other Business
  • President’s Closing Remarks

Lt Col Joe Ahern (Retd)

Honorary Secretary


It is important that members notify their intention to attend in advance to the Honorary Secretary not later than Sunday 29 September 2019 as failure to do so may cause security difficulties at the point of entry to McKee Barracks. Don’t forget to bring your I.D. card to facilitate your entry into Barracks.

Coffee will be available in the Officers Mess from 1030hrs and the Meeting will take place in the auditorium of the Defence Forces School of Catering at 1130hrs.

A light lunch with wine (gratis) will be served after the meeting. Those wishing to partake of lunch must also notify this to the Honorary Secretary by Sunday 29 September 2019.

Apologies from those unable to attend may be conveyed to the Honorary Secretary and will be read out on the day.

Category: AGM | Tags:

Respect and Loyalty Parade Galway, 10 August 2019

Following the dignified Respect and Loyalty Parades in both Dublin and Cork, a similar parade is taking place in Galway on Saturday, 10 August 2019. 

According to the organisers, the key objective of the parade is to publicly highlight the unsatisfactory pay, and service conditions, pertaining to personnel of the Defence Forces.  

In the context of this key objective, as retired commissioned officers, in solidarity with serving commissioned officers, enlisted personnel, and their respective families, and acknowledging the endeavours of the General Staff along with the Representative Associations RACO and PDFORRA, the Executive Committee advises ARCO’s membership to actively support the Respect and Loyalty Parade in Galway.

Assembling at the Spanish Arch at 1130hrs, the parade will advance to Eyre Square, where it will be addressed by speakers including Commandant Cathal Berry (Retd).   

ARCO’s Previous Statements

On 16 September 2018, ARCO released a Statement of Concern on the serious deterioration of the service conditions, and the depletion of strategic defence capabilities in the Defence Forces. Link to Statement

On 29 April 2019, ARCO released another statement in the context of the Respect and Loyalty Parade, which took place on 04 May, in Cork. Link to Statement

On 10 July, 2019, arising from the Public Sector Pay Commission’s Report and the associated Government’s Implementation Plan, ARCO called on the Minister for Defence to present formal proposals to Government establishing without delay, a statutory based, permanent and independent Defence Forces Commission, in order to address remuneration (including pensions), service and retention conditions, and the conciliation and arbitration architecture. Link to Statement

The three statements are posted on the Association’s website: www.iarco.info

Executive Committee

01 August 2019

Category: News | Tags: ,

Retirement – Brigadier General Howard Berney

Brigadier General Howard Berney, the General Officer Commanding 2 Brigade, retires from the Defence Forces on the 19th of August 2019. During his long and distinguished career, Brigadier General Berney served in a wide range of appointments, both at home and overseas.

A presentation and buffet to mark Brigadier General Berney’s retirement will be held in the Officers’ Mess, Cathal Brugha Barracks, on Wednesday, 31th July 2019 at 1600hrs. His many friends and colleagues in ARCO will wish to be associated with this occasion.

Those attending are requested to notify the Mess Secretary, at shane.heffernan@defenceforces.ie or 01 8046460 NLT 1630 hours on Wednesday, 24th July 2019.

Category: Retirements | Tags: ,





This statement from the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO) is issued in solidarity with Óglaigh na hÉireann, its serving personnel and their families. 

In light of the prevailing remuneration, the service conditions, well-being and work-life balance experienced by serving personnel and their families, coupled with the status of the Defence Forces as an unique institution of State, ARCO now urges the Minister for Defence to present formal proposals to Government, establishing without delay a statutory based, permanent and independent Defence Forces Commission to address remuneration (including pensions), service and retention conditions, and the conciliation and arbitration architecture.

ARCO salutes all personnel of the Defence Forces, together with their families, who by applying values of Respect, Loyalty, Selflessness, Courage and Integrity, while serving the citizens of Ireland, continue to successfully execute the defence and security roles assigned by the Government, both at home and overseas. 

ARCO, whose membership reflects a significant reservoir of experience and expertise within the realm of defence, contends that the prevailing inability to retain serving personnel, even in the context of a buoyant economy, is destabilising leadership at unit level, is purging corporate military knowledge, is increasing operational and training risks, is impacting negatively on morale, esprit de corps and well-being, is reducing manning levels, resulting in the unprecedented decline of deployable land, air, maritime and cyber capabilities, thus leaving the State, its institutions and citizens, vulnerable in maintaining a stable environment for economic development, and in addressing the threat landscape.

Notwithstanding the Government’s endorsement of the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission and the associated High Level Implementation Plan, ARCO’s previous statements on the grave deterioration of service conditions for personnel of the Defence Forces and their families, and the deployability of strategic and specialised defence capabilities, remain pertinent.  

The Government’s decision arising from the Public Sector Pay Commission’s Report, coupled with the public service pay restoration process, fail to adequately address the adverse effects of the inadequate remuneration and poor service conditions accruing to our colleagues in Óglaigh na hÉireann. 

In reality, the Government’s limited financial package focuses on the restoration of allowances reduced consequent to the Haddington Road Agreement of 2013 and the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2015.  ARCO notes that the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 already provides for the restoration of the majority of these allowances on 1st October 2020.  The disappointing increase in the Military Service Allowance will have only a marginal effect, if any, on the declining living standards, work-life balance and welfare values endured by serving personnel and their families.

Notwithstanding the reintroduction of the Service Commitment Scheme for Air Corps Flying Officers, ARCO remains deeply concerned with the retention challenges across all ranks in the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. 

82% of the 3,400 personnel exiting the Defence Forces during the period 2014 to 2018 were of a voluntary nature, this trend continues.  Of particular concern to ARCO, is that the unacceptable turnover rate for the Army moved from 4.92% in 2014 to 7.27% in 2018, the Air Corps turnover rate moved from 4.24% in 2013 to 8.14% in 2018, and the Naval Service turnover rate moved from 7.23% in 2013 to 14.81% in 2018.  This alarming trend continues in 2019.  The critical turnover rate identified by the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom is 5%.

ARCO notes the release of the Government’s High Level Implementation Plan.  Phase 1 must bring closure to the recommendations contained in the Public Sector Pay Commission’s report.   ARCO asserts that the timely conclusion of Phase 2, which examines core pay, is key to resolving the recruitment and retention challenges in the Defence Forces. 

In summary, in order to address the serious retention and remuneration issues that are undermining the Defence Forces capability development and operational readiness, coupled with the weakening morale, well-being and work-life balance of its personnel and their families, ARCO now calls on the Minister for Defence to present formal proposals to Government establishing without delay, a statutory based, permanent and independent Defence Forces Commission.

ARCO’s Previous Statements

On 16 September 2018, ARCO released a Statement of Concern on the serious deterioration of the service conditions, and the depletion of strategic defence capabilities in the Defence Forces. 

On 29 April 2019, ARCO released another statement in the context of the Respect and Loyalty Parade, which took place on 04 May, in Cork.   

Both statements are posted on the Association’s website: www.iarco.info

For information: the Report of the Public Service Pay Commission: Recruitment and Retention in the Permanent Defence Force May 2019 may be viewed HERE; the Government’s Plan: Strengthening Our Defence Forces – Phase 1, may be viewed HERE; and a downloadable copy of the ARCO Statement may be viewed HERE.

Executive Committee

10 July 2019

Notification from Department of Defence

Notification from Department of Defence to ONE, IUNVA and ARCO

Re: June 2019 military pension payslips

A Chairde,

You may be aware that there is a problem with the monthly payslips issued this morning to military pensioners by our payroll provider NSSO (National Shared Services Office).  

NSSO have assured us that the correct monthly amounts have been paid into pensioners bank accounts for June 2019.  However, due to an operational error, our pensioners have received their May payslip this morning from NSSO instead of the June payslip.

NSSO are dealing with any phone calls from the payees and they have put extra staff on the phones to ensure all calls are answered.  NSSO are also reassuring callers that the correct money has been paid into their accounts for June 2019 and confirming the amount of the payment.

NSSO are working to get the June 2019 payslips printed and issued as quickly as possible, but we understand it may be next Tuesday at the earliest before pensioners receive them.

Sincere apologies to our military pensioners for any inconvenience caused by this.  We are in ongoing contact with NSSO on the matter.

Any military pensioner who has a query about the payment of their pension can contact NSSO by phoning 0761 002 702; by emailing militarypensions@pssc.gov.ie or by writing to PSSC Helpdesk, Payroll Shared Service Centre, NSSO, Áras an tSáile, Renmore, Galway H91 AN2E.


Category: Pensions | Tags: ,
Association of Retired Commissioned Officers