Skip to main content
Normal View

Defence Forces

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (374)

Éamon Ó Cuív


374. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Defence the mandatory retirement age for serving privates and non-commissioned officers in the Defence Forces; the age that such members become eligible for an Army pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61508/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

A person who enlisted in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) before 1 January 1994 may be permitted to continue in service up to the age of 60 years. The normal maximum periods of service for personnel enlisted to the PDF post 1 January 1994 are:

- Line Privates, Line Corporals (and Naval Service equivalent ranks) and those in receipt of Technical Pay Groups 1 or 2, may not serve beyond 21 years;

- Privates and Corporals (and Naval Service equivalent ranks) in receipt of Technical Pay Group 3 or above may serve up to 50 years of age;

- Sergeants (and Naval Service equivalent rank) may serve up to 50 years of age;

- Higher ranked NCOs may serve up to 56 years of age.

Arising from an adjudication in 2015, it was agreed that a 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 also 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/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 their recommendations, the need to consider options to tackle barriers to extended participation in the Permanent Defence Force.

As the recommendations in the review require consideration from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in relation to implications on costs and pensions, the matter is currently the subject of detailed discussions with that Department. Discussions with PDFORRA will take place following the conclusion of the consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

As regards the age that such members become eligible for a pension the position is that as with public service employees generally, the specific pension arrangements of members of the PDF depend primarily on when a person first joins the public service.

For enlisted personnel who joined prior to 1 April 2004, pension is payable immediately following retirement and regardless of age. The minimum service required to qualify for a pension is 21 years, or 12 if discharged on medical grounds. Maximum benefits are payable after 31 years’ service.

For enlisted personnel who joined the PDF between 1 April 2004 and 31 December 2012 the minimum pension age is 50. Otherwise, where retirement is before age 50, pension benefits are preserved, i.e. payable from age 60. A minimum service of 2 years is required for pension (whether immediate or preserved) and maximum benefits are payable after 30 years’ service.

A person who enlisted from 1 January 2013 onwards is a member of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme and benefits are payable immediately on retirement from the PDF after age 50, and subject to having a minimum of 2 years’ pensionable service.

Immediate pension benefits may also be paid in a limited number of specific situations such as in the case of ill-health retirement and death.