Minister for Defence Announces Positive Changes for Soldiers with Post 1994 Contracts
Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, announced positive changes to the terms and conditions for post 1994 soldiers contracts.
The Minister welcomed agreement on his proposal for Privates and Corporals, who were recruited to the Permanent Defence Force since 1994, to remain in service up to 50 years of age. In addition, the Minister has secured arrangements that will facilitate Sergeants to continue to serve beyond 50 years of age. Details in relation to the proposal for Sergeants will be finalised following further discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and their representative association PDFORRA. This change in policy will allow for around 500 personnel to have the option to continue in service beyond 31 December 2022, subject to meeting certain criteria including passing Defence Forces medical and fitness tests.
The Minister thanked his colleague Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, for his assistance in bringing this matter to a positive conclusion.
The Minister said, “a review of the service limits for enlisted personnel has been one of my priorities. We have a professional, fit and healthy defence forces who are required to pass regular medical and fitness tests. It is important for the future of our Defence Forces that these highly trained and experienced personnel are retained. It is also important for individual personnel in terms of providing certainty and clarity on their future careers. I know that this was a pressing matter for serving soldiers and their families. I gave a commitment that I would address this matter before the end of the year. I am delighted to be able to honour that commitment.”
The Minister acknowledged that because of the nature of their duties, there is a need for the Defence Forces to maintain a low age profile across all ranks but he noted that, “even with the increase in mandatory retirement age for this cohort of personnel, the age to which certain Defence Forces personnel can serve is lower than other public service groups.”
The Minister concluded by saying, “as Minister for Defence, my priority is to return the Defence Forces to full establishment. In that context the increase in mandatory retirement ages for Privates and Corporals and the arrangements for Sergeants to serve beyond 50 years of age is another important step in that process. It will positively assist with the retention of highly trained and experienced personnel in the PDF.”
The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy, welcomed the positive announcement in retaining Post 94 Permanent Defence Force personnel, stating, “the men and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann are our greatest asset and therefore, retaining these experienced, highly trained and knowledgeable personnel is a key enabler in strengthening our capability.”