Dáil debates

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Defence Forces

10:40 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

As the Deputy is aware, military life places unique demands on individuals and it is necessary that Defence Forces personnel are prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations. For this reason compulsory retirement ages for ranks in the Permanent Defence Forces are considerably lower than in many other forms of employment. The age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force has been the subject of a number of reviews. A range of policies were introduced to ensure an appropriate age profile and levels of fitness including fixed-term contracts for certain ranks enlisted from 1994 onwards.

Arising from an adjudication in 2015, it was agreed that a further review of contracts of service for line corporals and privates and corporals in receipt of technical pay 1 and 2 would be conducted. It was subsequently agreed with PDFORRA that all privates and corporals recruited post-1994 would be allowed to continue in service to 31 December 2022 or until they reach the age of 50, provided these personnel meet certain criteria during the interim period including medical grades and fitness tests. This agreement was extended to include post-1994 sergeants who can also continue to serve to the same date, subject to their meeting similar criteria in the interim period. These measures are in place to provide time for the review to be completed.

A joint civil and military review of mandatory retirement ages of all ranks in the Permanent Defence Force has been conducted. The review has taken into account the report of the Public Service Pay Commission on recruitment and retention in the Permanent Defence Force which included in its recommendations the need to consider options to tackle barriers to extended participation in the Permanent Defence Force.

The recommendations in the joint civil and military review require consideration from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to implications on costs and pensions. Discussions with PDFORRA will take place following consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. I have said previously that I want to provide clarity on this issue before the end of the year but this is not solely my nor my Department's decision. We have to work with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as well. Nonetheless, that is a commitment I have given and my Department will continue to work to deliver on it.


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