Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence Dara Calleary has called on the Government to consider lifting the restrictions on the number of years of active duty that Defence Forces personnel can serve.


Deputy Calleary said, “Under the current rules, members of the Defence Forces can only be engaged in active service for a maximum of 21 years. Many personnel, who joined the Defence Forces at an early age with a view to a long career serving their country, are prevented from doing this because of these restrictions.


“The 21 year cut-off regularly sees members of the Defence Forces departing from duty before they would otherwise have.  Many within the ranks have expressed real frustration about this rule as they feel they have more to give and it cuts their career short. For many servicemen and women, they would serve for a much longer period if they were allowed to do so. Lifting these restrictions on a voluntary basis would beneficial to them on a personal level, and would have wider benefits given the ongoing moratorium on recruitment in the public service.


“This is an issue that has been raised a number of occasions with successive governments by PDforra which represents members of the army, navy and air corps.  In light of the ongoing need to restrict recruitment I believe there is merit in examining the 21 year cut-off for servicemen and women and I am calling on the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter to do so without delay.”