Yearly Archives: 2011

Christmas Greetings 2011


The President and members of the Executive Committee of the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers wish all members of the association and of the Defence Forces, serving both at home and overseas, a very happy Christmas and a contented and peaceful New Year.

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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.

Category: News | Tags: , , ,

Capt. Thomas Finbarr Drohan RIP

ARCO regrets to inform its members of the death of Captain Thomas Finbarr Drohan, Rathfarnham, Dublin. On Friday, 3 December 2011, peacefully and surrounded by his family. Deeply missed by his wife Eleanor, his sons Paddy, Shay and Finbar, his daughter Bríd, daughter-in-law Jacqueline, son-in-law Colin, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law and a wide circle of friends.

Reposing in Fanagans Funeral Home, Dundrum, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Funeral this Thursday after 12 noon Mass in the Church of the Divine Word, Marley Grange and afterwards to Mount Venus Cemetery. Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. House private, please.

2011 AGM Summary

The 17th ARCO Annual General Meeting took place in the Defence Forces School of Catering on Saturday 1st October 2011.  The Executive Committee elected for the coming year is as follows:

President:  Col Brian O’Connor          

Vice President:  Brig Gen Liam Mac Namee   

Hon Secretary:  Lt Col Joe Ahern            

Hon Treasurer:  Lt Col Richard Cummins           

Hon Membership Secretary:  Col Dick Heaslip

Eastern Region Representatives

Col Mick Lucey (Subsequently retired; Comdt Mick Delaney co-opted)

Comdt Billy Campbell                                            

Southern Region Representatives

Lt Col Seán Scanlon


Western Region Representatives

Brig Gen Gerry McNamara

Col Senan Downes                                             

DFTC  Regional Representatives

Col Dick Heaslip                                             

Col Con McNamara                                       

Naval Service Regional Representatives

Capt (NS) Charlie O’ Donnell

Lt Cdr Peter Dunne                                            

Air Corps Regional Representatives

Lt Col Richard Cummins

Capt Ray Bonar

The AGM was briefed on the review that had been conducted by ARCO.  Issues addressed in the review include the Association’s future Strategy, Structures and Activities.  A total of 930 retired officers were surveyed.  Responses were received from forty-five percent, including 136 non-members.  More than 80 serving officers were also consulted at pre-retirement courses.  The findings proposed new priorities for ARCO: these are Pensions, Information Dissemination, Representation, Health Services and Social Welfare issues.  The development of an enhanced web site and a new electronic means of communication were seen priorities. 

As a result of work conducted by the Executive Committee a new Vision, Mission, Objectives and Goals are proposed for ARCO.  A rules sub committee will be established in the coming year to review and make proposals, which will be presented at next years AGM for the approval of members.  ARCO is also developing a financial plan to advance its new priorities and to this end it was proposed that the annual subscription be raised by 10 euro to 25 euro per annum to accommodate these changes.  The meeting agreed to this increase with immediate effect.

A full account of the AGM proceedings will appear in the Spring Newsletter.

Category: AGM | Tags: ,

Choosing Health Insurance

Over the coming months many of our members’ health insurance will fall due for renewal. The recent dramatic increases in the cost of this insurance, combined with the reduction in pensions and increased taxation, will have prompted many to shop around for a cheaper quote.

ARCO has been examining the situation and has found that, for instance, the so-called ‘teachers’ and ‘nurses’ plans operated by some insurers are in fact open to everyone. It also found however that the health, family circumstances, location, etc. of each individual will impact on their choice of cover. As a result it is not possible to recommend a specific plan or insurer that will satisfy the needs of all ARCO members.

Before opting for a plan members are urged to examine carefully the choices open to them, bearing in mind their own individual needs. In particular they should avoid making a decision based simply on taking out the cheapest cover available. This could very well turn out to be a false economy, especially as most of us are entering the stage of life where medical treatment is becoming more frequent and more important.

In order to assist you in making this decision you should consult the website of the Health Insurance Authority ( which provides independent information and comparisons to consumers on health insurance plans and benefits. The HIA is the statutory regulator of the private health insurance market in Ireland.

Chiefs of Staff, The Portrait Collection


Looking for that ideal present for the military person in your life? Chiefs of Staff: The Portrait Collection of The Irish Defence Forces, edited by Colonel Tom Hodson, could be the answer to that ongoing problem.

The Book has a foreword by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, together with fascinating articles on the collection itself and on the historical perspective in which they are set. There are biographical details of the individual Chiefs of Staff and of the artists, as well as outstanding reproductions of the portraits themselves by Commandant Paddy Walshe. It is now available, cost €50, from Commandant Pat Casey, McKee Officers’ Club, C/O McKee Officers’ Mess, McKee Barracks, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7.


Curragh Military Museum

The Curragh Military Museum is well worth a visit by the history buffs among us or as part of a great family day out. The following information will help with the planning.

Opening Times
Monday – Wednesday
1000hrs – 1300hrs, 1500hrs – 1700hrs
1400hrs— 2000hrs
1400 hrs to 1700 hrs
Closed Friday, Saturday & Bank Holidays


Sgt Charlie Walsh


Tel : 045 445342


There is Free Admission and Free Parking

Category: News | Tags:

Lt. Col. Raymond F. Swan R.I.P.

ARCO regrets to inform its members of the death of Lieutenant Colonel Raymond F. Swan, of "Ashdene", Standhouse Road, Newbridge, Kildare. On Friday, 30 September 2011, peacefully at Naas Hospital. Beloved husband of Elsie and brother of the late Desmond. Deeply regretted by his loving wife, daughters Deirdre, Louise and Catherine, son Raymond, sons-in-law, brother Kevin, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

Reposing at Anderson & Leahy's Funeral Home, Newbridge from 3.30pm on Sunday evening, 2 October, with removal at 4.30pm to St. Conleth's Parish Church, to arrive at 5pm. Funeral Mass at 11am on Monday morning, with burial afterwards in St. Conleth's Cemetery, Newbridge. Family flowers only, please.

A Message from the Secretary, CAOGA

A problem has arisen with Pension Section in Galway in respect of the new Group Life Assurance Plan effective 01 September, 2011.  Some retired members have been deducted incorrect amounts.  Please be assured that the matter is receiving our full attention and that any anomalies will be addressed in next month’s pension cheque.


We regret any inconvenience caused.

Pauline O’Connell.
Secretary CAOGA

Category: CAOGA

Col. Noel O’Dwyer R.I.P.

ARCO regrets to inform its members of the death of Colonel Noel O'DWYER of Rathcoole, Co. Dublin and Waterford.


On Saturday, September 17, 2011. Peacefully after a long illness bravely borne, surrounded by his loving family, at home. Sadly missed by his loving wife Jean, daughter Siobhán, son Ciarán, daughter-in-law Kate, son-in-law Fergus, grandchildren Katie, Lucy, Emma, Jack and Ali, brother Seán, sisters Ena and Patsy, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and friends.

Reposing in James Hughes and Son Funeral Home, Kilcullen Road, Naas. Removal on Monday evening, 19 September, at 5.15 pm. to arrive at The Church of The Holy Family, Rathcoole at 6 pm. Funeral on Tuesday after Requiem Mass at 11 am. Burial afterwards in Saggart Cemetery. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired, to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross.

Category: Death Notices
Association of Retired Commissioned Officers