Reserve Defence Forces
|Reserve Defence Forces
Irish: Na hÓglaigh Cúltaca
|Founded||1 October 2005|
|Service branches|| Army Reserve
Naval Service Reserve
|Active personnel||2,323 (Nov 2015)|
The Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) (Irish: Na hÓglaigh Cúltaca) are the reserve components of the Defence Forces of Ireland. The RDF is organised into the First Line Reserve (FLR) and a Second Line Reserve. The First Line Reserve comprises former members of the Permanent Defence Force and the Second Line Reserve comprises the Army Reserve (AR) and Naval Service Reserve (NSR).
The RDF was established on 1 October 2005 and replaced the Second Line Reserve, previously named An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCÁ) in the case of the AR, and An Slua Muirí in the case of the NSR. The RDF has undergone a reorganisation in tandem with the Permanent Defence Force as part of the "Single Force" concept.
History and organisation
In 1997 a steering group was convened by the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces to conduct a special study on the restructuring of the Reserve Defence Forces. The report was completed in May 1999. The Reserve Defence Forces was established on 1 October 2005 in line with the recommendations of this report, and as part of a wider restructure of the Defence Forces from 2000 onwards.
An RDF Training Authority was established in the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) which co-ordinates and conducts reserve training.
The Steering Committee recommended an Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve based on a total strength ceiling of 4,069 personnel, (3,869 personnel Army Reserve and 200 personnel Naval Service Reserve), subject to existing organisational structures being revised.
In order to provide sufficient paid training days to sustain this strength, the Steering Committee recommended the withdrawal of gratuities from members of the Reserve and a re-allocation of the budgetary provision for gratuities of €0.9 million to provide sufficient paid training days for members of the Reserve.
The key points are;
- A new "Single Force" concept will see Army units having Reserve sub-units attached, rather than separate stand-alone Reserve units.
- A geographic spread for the Reserve will be achieved between existing Permanent Defence Force locations and the retention of 16 external locations. This consolidation into an effective organisation will entail the amalgamation and closure of units throughout the country. Recruitment is also envisaged where this is necessary to achieve the numbers required in particular locations.
- The strength of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve was reduced from its previous establishment of 9,692 personnel to 4,069 personnel. This will be achieved through natural turnover. Implementation of the new organisational structures will require participation and flexibility from existing Reserve personnel.
- The Naval Service Reserve will consist of 200 personnel and be based in four locations.
- The number of Army personnel available to work full-time with the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve is being reduced from the current 261 Army personnel to 57 full-time Army personnel. Additional support will be provided from Army units.
- Implementation of the re-organisation, including regulatory provision for the new Reserve organisation, will be progressed in tandem with the broader re-organisation of the Army. As with the Army, there will be an implementation process to achieve the transition from current structures to the new structures. In the intervening period, the military authorities will ensure the continuity of Reserve training.
The representative body for all ranks of the RDF is the Reserve Defence Forces Representative Association (RDFRA).
Earlier reserve forces: LSF, LDF, FCÁ
During The Emergency (Second World War), the civilian reserve was known as the Local Security Force, then as the Local Defence Force, which subsequently became translated into Irish as An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúl (or FCÁ). The FCÁ persisted as such until 2005 until reorganised and renamed as above. For a more detailed history, see main article.
Tasks are assigned to the RDF to support the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) in fulfilling its roles. These include;
- Augmentation/reinforcement of the PDF.
- Provision of logistic support.
- Provision of armed escorts.
- Guard duty.
- Augmentation of Naval Service on fishery protection patrols and overseas visits.
- Port security, sighting reports, information-gathering.
- Staffing of Military Posts during periods of PDF deployment.
- Radiological Monitoring.
- Ceremonial duties at national and local events.
As well as to augment the Permanent Defence Forces in times of crisis or emergency, where Reservists are liable to be called up on permanent service within the state or outside it by the Minister for Defence or Government of Ireland in accordance with the Defence Acts.
The 2015 White Paper on Defence and the 2016 Programme for Government provide that the overall establishment of the Army Reserve (AR) and the Naval Service Reserve (NSR) be set at 4,169 personnel, consisting of 3,869 Army Reservists and the expansion of the establishment of the four Naval Service Reserve Units from 200 to 300 personnel. In 2016, recruitment campaigns and training were stepped up to meet these targets.
While the number of female personnel in the Permanent Defence Forces is at a low 6% (which recruitment is trying to increase), the number of female personnel within the RDF is higher, with 16.3% female personnel in the Army Reserve and 22% female personnel in the Naval Service Reserve.
'Specialist Reserve' and overseas deployments
The White Paper on Defence published in 2015 by the Irish government sets out plans for a "Specialist Reserve" to be created within the RDF, to augment professional skills that may not be readily available within the PDF, such as ICT, medical, ordnance and engineering professionals. The White Paper expects that personnel seconded to the Specialist Reserve could, subject to their availability, be integrated with their PDF counterparts and take part in live operations, including overseas missions, similar to other European reserve military forces.
Components of the Reserve Defence Forces (and previously the FCÁ) were involved as extras in the filming of the D-Day landing battle scenes in Saving Private Ryan – as well as battle scenes in Braveheart, My Boy Jack and other feature films.
- "Written Replies Nos. 437 to 450 - Defence Forces Reserve". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Hansard). 13 January 2016.
- "Dáil Éireann - Parliamentary Debates Official Report - Volume 683 - 20 May 2009 - Written Answers - Defence Forces Reserve". Dáil Éireann. 20 May 2009.
- The Irish Defence Forces are made up of the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) - the standing branches - and the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF)
- "Value for Money (VFM) Review of the Reserve Defence Force" (PDF). Department of Defence. 20 November 2012.
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- "White Paper on Defence: Reserve Defence Forces Representative Association". Houses of the Oireachtas Service. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "About the Army Reserve". 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment (RAR). Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Defence Act, 1954". Government of Ireland. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Defence Forces Reserve Strength". KildareStreet.com. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "White Paper on Defence (2015)". Dept of Defence & Defence Forces. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
- "Programme for Partnership Government" (PDF). Merrion Street. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Defence Forces Reserve". Houses of the Oireachtas Service. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- O’Riordan, Sean (14 April 2016). "Defence Forces to recruit 1,450 personnel over two years". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Filming 'Saving Private Ryan' at Curracloe Beach 1997". RTÉ (Archives). Retrieved 25 May 2016.
"Members of the Reserve Defence Force [...] take part in a £40 million Steven Spielberg war epic"
- Mark McCarthy (2016). Ireland's 1916 Rising: Explorations of History-Making, Commemoration & Heritage in Modern Times. Routledge. ISBN 9781317112860.
" Rebel Heart [..had..] over 3000 extras (many of them from the Reserve Defence Forces - who had previously participated in the filming of Mel Gibson's Braveheart)"