The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today attended the 90th Anniversary of the Establishment of the RDF and the launch of the Employer Engagement Handbook at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.
This event was organised by the Defence Forces to acknowledge the contribution that members of the RDF, serving and former, have made to the State and to continue to build the strength of the force for the future.
The Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Mr. Maurice Quinn and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett accompanied the Minister, along with senior representatives from the Department of Defence and Military Management.
In recognising this service, the Minister reflected on the “long and proud history” of the Reserve Defence Force stemming back to the formation of the Volunteer Reserve in 1929.
He acknowledged the men and women who “selflessly give their spare time in the service of the State and are an integral part of Ireland's Defence capability.”
He also commented on the diverse nature of the force with members coming from all walks of life and pointed out how the force has often served as a springboard for a career in the Permanent Defence Force.
In his address, the Minister noted the many serving and former leaders who commenced their Defence careers in the Reserve Defence Force.
“At regular junctures, I meet people who, through a sense of real pride, share stories and memories of their time as Reservists,” Minister Kehoe said. “Such memories are recounted fondly and it is clear that a period of service in the Reserve leaves a lasting impression on those who serve,” he added.
The Minister also referred to the changing Defence and Security environment and how the Reserve Defence Force continues to evolve in this context. He mentioned how the development path for the Reserve Defence Force is laid out in the White Paper on Defence (2015) and how it is recognised in this paper that there are opportunities to harness specialist skills within the Reserve Defence Force in order to better effect the delivery of Ireland’s defence capability.
While the aim of the event was to commemorate the work of the Reserve Defence Force, it was also to launch a new Employer’s Information Booklet as part of the new Employee Engagement Plan.
In this context, the Minister referred to the recruitment campaign launched recently and pledged that the Government is committed to the strengthening of the RDF.
He urged Ireland’s employers to “support those who serve in the Reserve Defence Force, [and] to see it for the mutually beneficial professional development platform that it is and to encourage and enable people to serve.”
The Minister continued:
“I would encourage all employers of Reservists to support their employees by facilitating them where possible in terms of training obligations. I would also like to thank those employers who already facilitate their employees by granting them leave of absence in order for them to meet their Reserve training requirements.”
Finally, Minister Kehoe concluded by thanking members of the Reserve Defence Force, serving and retired, for their commitment.