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42 Defence Forces cadets officially commissioned

42 members of the 99 Cadet Class have been commissioned to take up roles in the Defence Forces.

The cadets officially became new officers at a Commissioning Ceremony in Pearse Barracks at the Curragh Camp in Co Kildare this afternoon.

Their journey to becoming military officers for the 99 Cadet Class began on 2 November in 2022.

Today’s ceremony marked the completion of 17 months of intensive training and will see them progress to take on junior leadership roles.

10 female and 32 male officers received their scrolls and Commissioning certificates from Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin.

The Tánaiste acknowledged the wide versatility in the class who will enter different areas of the organisation and disciplines, including engineering and aviation, within the Defence Forces.

An army spokesperson confirmed today that the size of the class of 42 new officers is average for the yearly intake.

Across the board more recruits are needed within the Defence Forces, with projected recruitment numbers not high enough to replace those leaving the organisation.

When asked what the Government is doing to support military staff to reach recruitment targets, the Tánaiste said they are providing very significant resources but also improving the quality of life of those who embarked on a career in the Defences Forces.

“The extension of free medical care, private health care for all enlisted personnel,” is one area he highlighted.

He also said increased allowances are being provided to make a military career more attractive.

“An increase in the expansion of allowances in terms of the patrol duty allowance in terms of naval services, in terms of army ranger allowances in the last week,” said the Tánaiste.

He also pointed to pay increases in recent years.

“Over the last two to three years, a fundamental significant increase in starting pay and conditions which would be above most other careers within the public service generally in terms of starting pay and conditions, which is important given the type of unique characteristics of life in our Defence Force.”

Lieutenant Kieran Kilbane (L), LT Connall Gallagher

ARCO Sword award

Newly commissioned Lieutenant Kieran Kilbane was awarded the ARCO Sword at today’s ceremony.

The sword is awarded to the overall number one student on the Cadet Course. It is retained in the Cadet Mess and displays the names of past recipients.

24-year-old Lieutenant Kilbane, from Leixlip in Co Kildare completed an Honors degree in Physics at Trinity College in 2021, and he is now looking forward to Flight Training School in the Air Corps.

“I’m looking forward to taking up my post in the flight training school in Baldonnell, pretty excited to start flight training.

“In terms of the award today, I was the recipient of the ARCO sword which I was very grateful to get this honour. It was awarded to the best overall cadet.

“It’s been a tough but incredibly rewarding 17 months. Throughout training in the cadetship, I was pushed probably to limits that I didn’t think that I would be able to cope with.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity and just really excited to start my career,” said Lieutenant Kilbane.

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