The Adjutant General is responsible for personnel matters in the Defence Forces.
Enlistment is undertaken by taking an oath but is based on contractual terms. The contract has certain statutory terms and conditions. However, a soldier is an office holder and not an employee.
Age limits, heights and physical standards are prescribed. Soldiers may enlist for a period of 12 years or a lesser period as may be prescribed. After this initial enlistment, service may be extended on application for up to a further period of 21 years with provision for some shorter extensions after that.
Certain persons are ineligible to be recruited to the Army. These include
- persons discharged from the permanent or Reserve Defence Forces, military, naval or police services.
- Members of an Garda Siochana
- existing members of the forces.
- persons convicted of serious offence by a civil court.
- persons belonging to the armed forces or police forces of another state
- certain persons in receipt of disability pensions
- persons ordinarily resident outside the state
- persons convicted by the Special Criminal Court of certain offences against the State unless certain periods have expired, or a pardon has been granted.
- persons failing to meet the requisite standards
There are provisions, subject to conditions, for transfer between one service corps and another. Minimum periods may be required before transfer is allowed. Soldiers may be detached from the unit to which they belong and attached to another unit within the same command or another command by arrangement between the commanding officers.
Promotions & Demotions
Promotions up to the rank of Corporal require a recommendation by a commanding officer, good military conduct ratings and completion of training courses and instructions. Promotions above the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant are made by the Adjutant General. Canvassing is forbidden.
Non-commissioned officers may be reduced in rank voluntarily, by court martial decision or by the Adjutant General where there are good grounds.
Health & Welfare
The officers commanding barracks and units, camps and posts are responsible for the health of all personnel, whom they command. They must have them medically inspected when they consider necessary. The medical officer may advise the commanding officer that a medical that a medical examination should be carried out.
The President appoints Irish citizens and other persons approved by the Minister as officers of the Defence Forces to the commissioned ranks. Persons may be appointed from cadet training (the majority) or those in the enlisted ranks after completing an officer training course. Certain direct entry officers who have specialist qualifications, such as in music, medicine, r dentistry and other technical officers, may be appointed directly.
The commission is held from the President. An officer is commissioned for an indefinite period or until he reaches retirement age in the relevant regulations for the rank subject to physical and mental capacity. However, the fact that the appointment is without limitation of time does not mean that it cannot be terminated, although it would generally not be terminated without good reason.
An officer may resign his commission. This is effective, only once accepted. Permission may be required to retire, if the officer wishes to avail of certain lump-sum, gratuity and pension and benefits.
In some cases, where special training is involved, the officer may be obliged to undertake to refund the Department part of the expense concerned in the event of premature resignation or retirement. This would be capable of being discharged monetarily. Where training is required under lawful order, the view is taken that it would be improper to require refund as this would amount compulsory military service.
A person may qualify to be cadet if he
- is born in Ireland or the child of a person born in Ireland
- is a citizen or a child of an Irish citizen
- satisfies requirements in relation to education, age and physical standards
- satisfies character requirements
Cadet applicants are interviewed by a interview board examined by a medical board and subject to further rounds of interview. The Minister awards cadetships which require prescribed courses of training. Cadets are enlisted as private soldiers for general service while training. .
The cadetship may be withdrawn on request on
- failure of medical examination,
- unsatisfactory conduct,
- failure to complete training
- failure to show satisfactory progress or develop the requisite skills.
Where the cadet cannot complete training within the requisite period an extension may be granted. Upon withdrawal, the cadet may revert to his pre-existing position or be discharged. Cadets are required to undertake in the event of resignation or retirement within a specified period to refund cost.
Upon completion of training, and passing medical standards, the cadet on may be nominated to be an officer at the rank of second lieutenant or ensign in the naval service. Nomination is conditional upon satisfactory service during the cadetship and being recommended by the Chief of Staff as suitable for appointment.
There are number of mechanisms by which enlisted personnel may be commissioned. They may apply through the cadetships system. Alternatively, they may be selected as for a potential officers course and commissioned from it.
Persons eligible to be appointed as officers of the Defence Forces may be appointed by the president as officers of the Reserve Defence Forces. Persons appointed are assigned to particular classes.
Officers of the Permanent Defence Forces may on leaving apply to be officers of the reserve of officer’s first line. Non-commissioned officers of the reserve of men with good character and satisfactory education, and who show exceptional keenness and efficiency are eligible to be nominated as officers of the Reserve Defence Forces to be assigned to the reserve of officers. Certain persons with third level of other special qualifications may be nominated for appointment as an officer of the Reserve Defence Forces subject to compliance with age and other criteria.
The major military officers of state are appointed by on the government’s advice by the President. Officers may be promoted by the Minister for Defence on receipt of recommendations by the Chief of Staff or promotion boards. Promotion boards may hold competitions.
The Chief of Staff makes promotions up to the rank of captain, with the applications considered by a promotion board. There are a number of classes of promotion board dealing with promotions to the higher levels of the army. There are formalities associated with the organisation procedures and recommendations of the promotion board. The system of promotions has been revised.
Officers and soldiers of the Defence Forces are obliged to render military service within or outside the State.
Women were permitted to enter the Defence Forces in 1979. In 1992, women members were given access to all appointment. This applies to both the Permanent Defence Forces and the Reserve Defence Forces.
Females are entitled to equality of opportunity in relation to overseas missions with United Nations. Cognisance may be taken of the nature of the operation, facilities, customs culture, religious ethos and the role of women in the relevant society.
Terms & Conditions
Terms and conditions, including pay and employment allowances, are prescribed by law. Pay may be forfeited due to absence without leave, imprisonment and in other circumstances.
There are special provisions in relation to deduction of pay. Deductions in pay are prohibited save on limited grounds. There are special provisions allowing for deduction of maintenance orders which are over and above the standard provisions under maintenance and childcare legislation. Military earnings are not capable of being attached for civil debts.
Member of the Permanent Defence Forces may not join any political organisation or secret society. Members of the Reserve Defence Forces may not join a secret society.
Member of the Reserve Defence Forces who are continuously engaged in military service or called out on permanent service may not take part in certain specific certain political activities. It is an offence to organise or attempt to organise any secret society amongst members of the Defence Forces or to assist or partake in any such activity.
Defence Forces members may not become members of local authority, ETB and may other bodies. They are ineligible for jury service.
Members of the Defence Forces enjoy certain exemptions from road traffic law while driving State military vehicles on duty. They are exempt from certain tolls and charges. The arms equipment clothing and service necessaries may not be ceased by a court order.