Reserve Defence Forces

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Reserve Defence Forces
Badge of the Irish Defence Forces.svg
Reserve Defence Forces Cap Badge
Active 1 October 2005- Present
Country Ireland
Size 4,371 (4,191 AR. 180 NSR)[1]
Website Reserve Defence Forces

The Reserve Defence Forces (Irish: Na hÓglaigh Cúltaca)[2] is the title given to the reserve components of the Irish Defence Forces.[3] It comprises the Army Reserve (AR) and the Naval Service Reserve (NSR).

It was established on 1 October 2005 and replaced the second line reserve, previously named An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCA) in the case of the AR, and An Slua Muirí in the case of the NSR.

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 in 2005 in line with the recommendations of this report, and as part of a wider restructure of the defence forces from 2000.

The Naval Service Reserve has an establishment of 400 and is organised into two groups, each consisting of two companies.

An RDF Training Authority was also established in the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) which co-ordinates and conducts reserve training.

The Minister for Defence has accepted the recommendations of A Value for Money (VFM) Review of the Reserve Defence Force. Published on Tuesday 20 November 2012

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. 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. The locations of the new Reserve Units are set out on the attached map. 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.

Earlier reserve forces: LSF, LDF, FCA

During the Emergency, 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 FCA). The FCA persisted as such until 2005 until reorganised and renamed as above. For a more detailed history, see main article.

Popular culture

The Reserve Defence Forces (and previously the FCÁ) composed the majority of extras used 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.


  1. "Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Department of Defence and Defence Forces. 2013. p. 21. 
  2. "Dáil Éireann - Parliamentary Debates Official Report - Volume 683 - 20 May 2009 - Written Answers - Defence Forces Reserve". Dáil Éireann. 20 May 2009. 
  3. The Irish Defence Forces are made up of the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF or P.D.F) - the standing branches - and the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF or R.D.F.)

External links and sources