|Reserve Defence Forces|
|Irish: Na hÓglaigh Cúltaca|
|Founded||1 October 2005|
|Service branches|| Army Reserve|
Naval Service Reserve
|Headquarters||Directorate of Reserve Forces, Operations Division DFHQ|
|(DCOS Ops)||Major General Kieran Brennan|
|Active personnel||1,778 active (May 2018)|
The Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) (Irish: Na hÓglaigh Cúltaca) are the combined reserve components of the Irish Defence Forces. The RDF is organised into the First Line Reserve (FLR) and an active Second Line Reserve. The First Line Reserve comprises former members of the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) 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 Reserve has undergone significant reorganisation and modernisation in tandem with the Permanent Defence Forces as part of the "Single Force" concept.
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 Defence Forces Reserve. 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 EUR0.9 million to provide sufficient paid training days for members of the Reserve.
The key points are;
The representative body for all ranks of the RDF is the Reserve Defence Forces Representative Association (RDFRA).
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.
The roles of the Reserve are those assigned to the Defence Forces:
Tasks are assigned to the Reserve to support the Defence Forces in fulfilling its roles. These include;
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 Reservists is higher, with 16.3% female personnel in the Army Reserve and 22% female personnel in the Naval Service Reserve.
Prof Michael Mulqueen in his 2009 book titled Re-evaluating Irish National Security Policy: Affordable Threats? states "The emphasis on overseas service had also been extended to the Army Reserve. A reorganisation plan envisaged 2,600 of the State's 12,000 Reservists being offered training up to the level of full-time soldiers, in preparation for overseas service. Reservists would also conduct, on a routine basis, ATCP operations. This seemed to suggest that in time, while the permanent Army concentrated on overseas missions [...] part-time soldiers would take their place in duties defined broadly enough to encompass everything from flood relief to anti-terrorist patrols."
The White Paper on Defence published in 2015 by the Irish government sets out plans for a "Specialist Reserve" to be created within the Defence Forces, to augment professional skills that may not be readily available within the PDF, such as ICT, medical, ordnance, heavy vehicle mechanics 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.
As of 31 May 2018 [..] the effective strength of the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve was as follows [..] Army Reserve (AR) .. 1,663 [..] Naval Service Reserve (NSR) .. 115
"Members of the Reserve Defence Force [...] take part in a £40 million Steven Spielberg war epic"
" 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)"