Defence Forces Veterans Day, 11 May 2019

The Executive Committee of ARCO has accepted an invitation on behalf of its members from the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, DSM to attend the 2019 Defence Forces Veterans Day.  This will be held in the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7 on Saturday, 11th May at 1200 hours.

A representative group from each of the three national organisations (ARCO, ONET and IUNVA) will parade on Clarke Square to be reviewed by the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, TD.

Veterans’ Day reaches out to honour retired members of the Defence Forces and all Veterans have been invited. A post-event reception will be hosted in Collins Barracks.

The Executive Committee encourages ARCO members to attend this event and to wear their medals.

Members are requested to participate in the ceremony and are asked to report to Clarke Square by 1100 hours.

Members who are not parading for the ceremony should be seated by 1145 hours.

We look forward to seeing you in Collins Barracks on the day.

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Respect and Loyalty Parade Cork, 4 May 2019

In September 2018, the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (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 of Concern.

ARCO’s stated position on these significant issues remains relevant.  Of particular concern to ARCO, is the inordinate delay in addressing the adverse effects of inadequate remuneration accruing to our serving colleagues in Óglaigh na hÉireann. 

In addition, ARCO remains deeply concerned with the manner in which the retention challenges, across all ranks, within the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, are being addressed.  

Likewise, ARCO is fully aware of the deteriorating living and welfare standards endured by families of serving personnel, dependent spouses and children, and, in some cases, retired single personnel.

Following the dignified September Respect and Loyalty Parade, a similar parade is taking place in Cork, on Saturday, 4th May, 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 the above 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 now encourages ARCO’s membership to actively support the Respect and Loyalty Parade in Cork.

Assembling in the Grand Parade at 1130hrs, the components of the parade are a Colour Party, IUNVA Pipe Band, IUNVA Body, Family Body and Veterans’ Body.  The main elements of the parade include a wreath laying ceremony, a parade through the City, followed by a key note address delivered by Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Harvey (Retd).   

ARCO will revisit its Statement of Concern following the publication of the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission on Defence Forces remuneration.

Executive Committee

29 April 2019

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Retirement – Major General Kevin Cotter

Major General Kevin Cotter, the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support), retires from the Defence Forces on the 1st of April, 2019. During his long and distinguished career, Major General Cotter served in a wide range of appointments, both at home and overseas.

A presentation to mark Major General Cotter’s retirement will be held in the Officers’ Mess, McKee Barracks, on Thursday, 28th March 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 messsec1@eircom.net or 01 8046194 NLT Thursday, 21st March 2019.

Category: Retirements | Tags: ,

O.N.E. – Sleeping Flags Appeal

On Monday, 11 February, the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel – Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann) formally launched its Sleeping Flags Appeal, in order to raise public awareness and aid for the homeless Irish Defence Forces veterans. 

The associated campaign involves veterans, in specially-created Tricolour sleeping bags, deployed around the streets of Dublin.

Dubbed ‘Sleeping Flags’, the symbolic act, which challenges protocols around the treatment and representation of the Irish flag, represents both the homeless veterans who died on Dublin’s streets, which was the catalyst for O.N.E. to establish its first homeless hostel, and the reality facing current and future veterans if the charity is unable to keep its doors open.

To date, O.N.E. has helped hundreds of homeless male and female Defence Forces veterans who have served abroad in conflict zones including The Congo, Lebanon, Syria and the Mediterranean, or at home during The Troubles.  Many come to O.N.E. with depression, disabilities, PTSD, or having suffered family breakdowns, with little support to call on.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign Ollie O’Connor, CEO of O.N.E. stated “Our first homeless hostel opened in direct response to a number of veterans dying on the streets of Dublin.  Since then, we’ve helped over 900 homeless veterans from all over Ireland who could have faced the same situation. These Sleeping Flags are bags we never wanted to make, but if we can’t get enough funding, our veterans will end up back on the streets”.

Set against Ireland’s current homelessness crisis, the preventive services O.N.E. offer are more vital than ever, providing over 16,000 bed nights every year, between Dublin, Letterkenny and Athlone, and with 95% of the veterans they help moving on to permanent housing.

The men and women we’re helping have a special affinity with the Tricolour.  These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and our next door neighbours who joined the Irish Defence Forces to serve their country. When they joined up, they were young fit men and women. They didn’t put up their hands to become homeless veterans.”

For more information on the Sleeping Flags Appeal, or to make a donation to O.N.E. please visit https://sleepingflags.ie/

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ARCO Information Brief – Citizenship of children born abroad to officers serving on official duty overseas

A person is an Irish citizen where they were born abroad to an Irish citizen parent. This is the situation that gives Irish citizenship to those children born abroad to Irish Defence Forces officers on duty overseas.

In circumstances where the parent is also born outside the island of Ireland (e.g. a child born abroad to an officer on duty overseas), then as a consequence of various changes to and revision of legislation, a range of administrative issues arise when an Irish passport is being sought for that parent’s children (i.e. officers’ grandchildren). These issues are outlined and discussed in the following ARCO Information Brief.

In the light of the recent experience of an ARCO member, ARCO strongly recommends that officers, with children born abroad while the officer served on official duty overseas, make themselves aware of the prevailing legislative administrative procedures regarding overseas births.

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PAYE Modernisation Documents

On 29 November, ARCO attended a Revenue Commissioner’s presentation in the Department of Defence, on the new PAYE Modernisation process, which came into effect on 01 January 2019. A document titled PAYE Modernisation was circulated.

The Department of Defence has provided ARCO with an information brief circulated by the National Shared Services Office, titled PAYE Modernisation – Notes for Employees, which may be of some relevance to ARCO’s membership.

Further information on PAYE Modernisation is available on the Revenue website.

Category: News, Pensions | Tags:

ARCO Information Brief – Contributory Pension Scheme for Spouses and Children

 

The Contributory Pension Scheme for Spouses and Children is a scheme which provides pensions for the spouse and/or dependent children of an officer, or the dependent marital children of an officer who dies in service, or after qualifying for pension. 

There are two Contributory Spouses and Children’s Pension Schemes: The Original Scheme and the Revised Scheme.  During 1985, an option of joining the Revised Scheme, or of retaining their membership of the Original Scheme, was made available to officers.

The Original Scheme provides pensions for the spouse and/or the dependent children of an officer who dies in service, or after qualifying for pension.  It does not provide pensions for the spouses of marriages occurring after retirement, or for the children resulting from such marriages.

The Revised Scheme provides pension benefits for the spouse and children of the officer and, unlike the Original Scheme, includes provision for the spouse of an officer who marries after retirement, for the children of an officer who are born from such marriages and for non-marital children.

If you are unsure whether you are covered for Spouses’ and Children’s benefits or which Scheme you may be a member of, then you should check with Pensions Administration, Finance Section, Department of Defence.

An ARCO Information Brief on the scheme is available HERE and provides details of the two schemes in a format that is easy to understand. The brief also contains contact information for those wishing to make enquiries, along with details of the Appeal Mechanism for those who have been deemed by the Department of Defence as not qualifying for a pension.

Category: Pensions | Tags:

Redesigned Website – Department of Defence

Since October 2015, all Defence Forces pensions from the Department of Defence are paid by the Payroll Shared Service Centre (PSSC).  The PSSC is responsible for processing monthly pensions and for making all statutory and voluntary deductions.

Under the tab “What We Do”, the recently redesigned Department of Defence website includes information on pension issues such as:

  • Occupational Pension Benefits including
    • Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure for the Defence Forces Pensions Schemes (August 2018),
    • Limited appeals process for Spouses and Children’s Scheme membership options,
  • Disability Pension Benefits
  • Personal Injuries Compensation Scheme for Personnel of the Reserve Defence Force
  • Defence Forces Superannuation Schemes, Annual Report 2017.

Queries on Defence Forces pensions should, in the first instance be referred to:

  • PSSC Helpdesk, Payroll Shared Service Centre, Áras an tSáile, Renmore, Galway, H91 AN2E.
  • Telephone: 076 1002 702.
  • Email militarypensions@pssc.gov.ie.

Queries on Defence Forces pension terms or entitlements should in the first instance, be referred to:

  • Pensions Administration Section, Finance Branch, Department of Defence, Áras an tSáile, Renmore, Galway, H91 AN2E.
  • Telephone: 091 743 900, or Lo-Call 1890-426444 (extension 3900).
  • Email admin@defence.ie

While we are on the subject of pensions, the following is a link to Circular 02/2018, issued to all Government Departments and Public Service Employers by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which lays down pension increase policy in the public service until the end of 2020. We are also including a link to the Memorandum on the subject issued by Finance Branch of the Department of Defence.

Category: News, Pensions | Tags: ,

Retirement – Maj Gen Mick Beary

Major General Mick Beary retired recently from the Defence Forces after almost 45 years service. During his career he served in a wide variety of units and appointments.

At home these included: School Commandant of the Command and Staff School, Director of Training, Commandant of the Military College and General Officer Commanding 2 Brigade.

His overseas service included: Company Commander A Company 76 Infantry Battalion UNIFIL, Office of the Chief of Staff UNPROFOR, Intelligence Branch UNIKOM, Operations Section ISAF, Intelligence Branch EUMS, Mission Commander EU Training Mission Somalia, and Head of Mission and Force Commander UNIFIL.

As a mark of appreciation to Major General Beary, and in recognition of his long and distinguished service, it is proposed to hold a retirement function at 1600hrs on Thursday 15 November 2018 in Cathal Brugha Barracks Officers’ Mess, Rathmines, Dublin.

Mick’s many friends in ARCO who wish to attend the function, or to send messages, should notify the Mess Secretary or Mess Sergeant, Cathal Brugha Barracks Officers Mess via email at: shane.heffernan@defenceforces.ie or phone via: 01 8046460 or 01 8046355, not later than 1630hrs on Friday 09 November 2018.

Category: Retirements | Tags: ,

Defence Forces Bridge Competition

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Association of Retired Commissioned Officers