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
- 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.