About Our Association


With 25 years of continuous service to the Defence Community, ARCO is a vibrant, evolving and flourishing representative association, providing a strong collective voice, advocating on behalf of commissioned officers who are either fully retired, or who remain active in the workplace.

ARCO’s membership is drawn from retired commissioned officers of the Permanent Defence Force.

As a distinctive group of retired officers, ARCO encourages and fosters the unique fellowship and comradeship which derived from military service in Óglaigh na hÉireann.

ARCO’s motto is “Camaraderie Through Service”

Through its efforts, ARCO was formally recognised by the Department of Defence and by Defence Forces Headquarters as the veterans’ association which represents retired commissioned officers of Óglaigh na hÉireann.

In advancing pension related issues, ARCO is a proactive member of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants, and is formally represented on its Council.  ARCO further advances the needs and interests of its members, in areas such as insurance and benevolent needs, through its appointed representatives on the Board of Management of Cumann Árachais Oifigeach an Ghnáth-Airm (CAOGA), and on the Executive Committee of the Defence Forces Benevolent Fund (DFBF).

To download An Overview of ARCO, please click here


ARCO was established initially to put in place a structure that would formally represent the interests of retired officers, including eligible spouses or civil partners, and children, and, in particular, to protect the value of military pensions.

The main rationale for the establishment of the Association arose from a ruling by the Department of Defence, which limited the pensionability of Military Service Allowance to those serving on, or after, 1st August 1990.  This ruling excluded from eligibility a large number of retired officers who, in service, had endured the same hardships and conditions, for which the allowance was introduced, as their serving counterparts.  The issue highlighted the need for an association to represent the views of retired officers

Unlike serving officers who had access to the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (RACO), retired officers had no recourse to representation.   In this context, during 1992 and 1993, a series of meetings were convened to address the requirement for an association which would represent the concerns of retired officers.

Most prominent among the Founding Fathers were: Col Kevin Hanley, Col Jim Fagan, Lt Col Frank Neill, Lt Col Jackie Deveraux and Capt Ray Tumulty.   ARCO’s inaugural meeting was held on 9th November 1993 at the Ashling Hotel, Dublin.  The following retired officers were elected to the Executive Committee:

  • President                   Capt Ray Tumulty
  • Vice President        Col Kevin Hanley
  • Hon Secretary        Comdt Leo Quinlan
  • Hon Treasurer        Col Jim Fagan
  • Regional Representatives
      • East              Col John Ryan, Lt Col Jim Coyle
      • Curragh     Col Roger McCorley, Col Pat Jordan
      • Cork            Col Tommy Dunne, Comdt Eoin Allen
      • Limerick    Col Mick Gill, Capt Dermot McKeown
      • Athlone      Lt Col Jack Donoghoe, Comdt John Keily
      • Galway       Lt Col Ned Cusack, Capt Ray Buckley


At subsequent meetings, the Executive Committee finalised the Association’s Rules.  These rules were adopted by an Extraordinary General Meeting held at Cathal Brugha Barracks on 9th April 1994.  On the 24th June 1994, ARCO was formally launched in the Constitution Room of the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, followed by a reception at the Mansion House.


Representing retired commissioned officers of the Permanent Defence Force, ARCO encourages and fosters the unique fellowship and comradeship established during military service, and promotes and protects the interests and needs of members, and eligible spouses or civil partners, within its competencies.


While maintaining a positive image of the Association, and reflecting retired officers’ values and ethos which derive from service in the Permanent Defence Force, the following internal and external objectives will be implemented:

1. Internal Objectives


  • Promotes, defends and protects the rights, interests, quality of life, services, and welfare of retired officers and eligible spouses or civil partners.
  • Supports the protection, relevance and improvement of members’ and eligible spouses’ or partners’ pensions and secondary benefits.
  • Advises and assists, within its competencies, members, and eligible spouses or partners, on pensions and pension related matters.
  • Monitors change, coordinates advice and provides general support thus enabling members to benefit fully from opportunities following early or age-related retirement.
  • Provides a forum for analysis and debate, and the formulation of responses to anticipated developments that may impinge on the lives of retired officers, and eligible spouses or partners.
  • Facilitates mutual support, networking opportunities and social occasions, for both retired officers and for those who remain active in the workplace, thus maintaining a fruitful bond with colleagues, in sharing talents and interests for their common benefit.
  • Ensures that the particular needs of officers retiring without a pension entitlement are catered for in a meaningful way, and that such officers enjoy parity of esteem within the Association with all other members.
  • Conducts an effective internal and external communication strategy by means of regional meetings, social media, website, biannual newsletter and text-a-message service.
  • Organises events and activities supporting ARCO’s objectives and members’ interests.


2. External Objectives


  • Establishes and maintains pro-active involvement with kindred organisations and agencies, in order to collectively engage in public advocacy and political lobbying, on issues relevant to retired officers.
  • Engages with Government Representatives, Government Departments and Agencies on pensions, pension related issues, and enhanced services for retired officers, and eligible spouses or civil partners.
  • Presents, within its competencies, presentations, submissions and statements on appropriate issues including Defence, Foreign Affairs, Veteran’s Policy, Remuneration, Pensions and Welfare.
  • Advocates, using appropriate means on behalf of the Defence Forces, its personnel, its veterans and the families of serving personnel.
  • Conducts meetings on an annual basis with both the Minister for Defence, and the General Staff, and on a quarterly basis with both the Department of Defence and RACO.
  • Fosters professional excellence within the Defence Forces through the sponsorship of an award for the Best Student on Army, Naval Service and Air Corps Cadet Courses, and by supporting Defence Forces Mentoring Programmes.
  • Promotes effective and efficient liaison, coupled with mutual support and unity of effort, with ONE, IUNVA, RACO and PDFORRA, on matters of mutual interest.
  • Provides a member of the Executive Committee to the Defence Forces Benevolent Fund’s Executive Committee, to CAOGA’s Board of Management, and to the Council of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants.
  • Participates in, or represents retired officers at State and Defence Forces ceremonial events, both at National, Regional and Local levels.


Current Focus.  In the short to medium term, ARCO will focus on:

  • Addressing the implementation of the aim and objectives adopted during its 2019 Annual General Meeting, as listed in paragraph 4 above,
  • Actively engaged with the Alliance of Retired Public Servants in addressing the repeal of FEMPI legislation, pension parity and negotiation rights for public servants,
  • Extending its membership base,
  • Advancing the Combined Veterans’ Strategy along with ONE and IUNVA,
  • Enhancing its interface with RACO, CAOGA, the Defence Forces Benevolent Fund, and the Irish Defence Forces Officers Club (IDFOC),
  • Reviewing its existing Rules which were adopted in 2013, and
  • Preparing a framework for the elaboration of a Veterans’ Policy.




The Association’s Rules form the basis of ARCO’s effective governance, transparency and accountability.  Link to Rules: ARCO’s Rules incorporating Aim and revised Objectives as adopted at the 2019 Annual General Meeting

Under the direction of the President, the management of the Association is exercised by the Executive Committee consisting of retired officers, on a voluntary basis.

The President, Hon Secretary, Hon Treasurer and Hon Membership Secretary present reports to the Annual General Meeting, which takes place during the month of October.  ARCO is a non-profit organisation. Financial accounts are audited on a yearly basis and presented by the Hon Treasurer for approval at the Annual General Meeting.

The Department of Defence provides ARCO with the usage of an office in the Curragh, on an annual rental basis.

Data Protection and Privacy Policy

ARCO’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy was promulgated in July 2018 and is available on the Website.  The purpose of the Policy is to protect the rights, privacy and personal information of individuals in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 – 2003, and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) which became effective from 25th of May 2018.

In addition to routine governance, the Association’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy also covers ARCO’s website, emails and texting service.

All personal information voluntarily provided by members to ARCO will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality.

ARCO collects and or uses personal information for the following purposes:

  • Membership of the Association,
  • Governance of the Association, and
  • Communications to the Association’s membership.


Executive Committee

The structure of the Executive Committee provides for two representatives from the Eastern, Southern, Western and DFTC regional areas, coupled with two representatives from both the Naval Service and Air Corps.  Members of the Executive Committee are elected by the Association’s Annual General Meeting.  The Executive Committee’s regional representatives ensure efficient communications and accurate expression of members’ needs.  Convening on a monthly basis, the Executive Committee’s tenure of office is for one year.  In order to maintain its profile and to inform its membership, Regional Meetings are held during a year and are rotated in major Defence Forces barracks.


Appointments October 2019 – September 2020


President Brig Gen Paul Pakenham
Vice President Col George Kerton
Honorary Secretary Lt Col Joe Ahern
Honorary Treasurer Lt Col Richard Cummins
Honorary Membership Secretary Col Richard Heaslip
Immediate Past President Cmdr Gerry O’Flynn (NS)
Regional Representatives
Eastern Region Col George Kerton & Comdt Billy Campbell
Southern Region Col William Harrington & Lt Col Michael Baston
Western Region Brig Gen Gerry McNamara & Col Senan Downes
Curragh Region Col Con McNamara & Lt Col Seamus Rouine
Naval Service Region Cmdr Gerry Flynn (NS) & Capt David Berry (NS)
Air Corps Region Brig Gen Paul Fry & Capt Ray Bonar
CAOGA Col Sean Scanlon
Defence Forces Benevolent Fund Brig Gen Liam MacNamee
Newsletter Col Declan Carbery
Col Bill Nott
Comdt Pat Godfrey
Capt Ray Murphy
Comdt Pat Casey



The Executive Committee advances projects and activities as it deems appropriate to achieve the Association’s  objectives.

Recent examples include, events marking the 20th and 25th Anniversaries of ARCO’s establishment, the 2010 Members’ Survey, a Ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance marking the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, the 2018 Combined Veterans’ Strategy, the 2019 Workshop on ARCO’s Relevance, and the 2019 Review of its Bereavement Booklet.

Past Presidents

Captain Ray Tumulty                                        November 1993 – September 1998

Brigadier-General Patrick Monahan      September 1995 – October 2001

Colonel John Ryan                                             October 2001 – October 2006

Col Michael Lucey                                              October 2006 – October 2009

Col Brian O’Connor                                           October 2009 – October 2012

Brigadier-General Liam MacNamee       October 2012 – October 2015

Commander Gerry O’Flynn (NS)               October 2015 – October 2018

Association of Retired Commissioned Officers