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Changes to retirement, recruitment age in Defence Forces

Changes to the retirement age and the maximum recruitment age for military personnel come into effect today.

The mandatory retirement age for both the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) has now been raised to 60.

Lieutenant Colonel Iain Conlon of the Army Reserve said the higher recruitment age will mean that an older applicant – who in the past may not have considered a career in either the permanent or the reserve Defence Forces – will now be able to apply.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, he said Western militaries are facing a lack of people considering the military as a career option, and this move makes it more attractive for people to join and brings the force in line with PDF colleagues.

Lt Col Conlon said Ireland is facing a shortage of specialists and personnel and this move will mean not having to ask people at a younger age to leave the organisation.

He said there are many opportunities within the Defence Forces.

“There is an awful lot of opportunities and one of the big things when you look at what kind of person that we are looking to join the reserves…it is open to everybody.

“We want basically a reserve that represents the current Ireland, the modern Ireland and people from all communities.

“And it’s a great opportunity to learn new skills, travel and from a fitness…also where you can meet friends that you can have for the rest of your life and basically work as part of a big team.”

He said that when a person initially signs up to join, they will have to do a basic level of training at weekends or periods of full-time training, none of which are longer than 14 days.

“Initially when you join, you would be expected, in order to do your basic training, that you would have to spend time in a military location learning the basic skills that are required to operate in the military.”

He said the tasks that are assigned are exactly the same as the PDF and when the reserves are trained they have to augment and support the PDF if and when required.

“If the training that is required for that is military skills, they are all covered in that, and even things like foot drills, navigation, tactical and weapons and this is all done in a training environment which instills leadership and teamwork in all the individuals.”

He said the training can be challenging but is most definitely rewarding.

“I would encourage anyone to do it as it’s a fantastic opportunity to give back to the country but also for personal development.”

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