Fine Gael Kildare South TD, Martin Heydon, has welcomed the news that many soldiers will benefit from a four year extension to their service, thanks to a recommendation in the report of a third party adjudicator in relation to a mandatory rule forcing the retirement of hundreds of soldiers after 21 years of service.

“I have raised this matter on numerous occasions with the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, and impressed upon him the need to relax this rule which applies to all affected privates and corporals who joined the army since 1994. The 21 year rule was due to take effect this year and I have had many representations on this issue from serving members based in Kildare South.

“The findings in the adjudicator’s report mean that many soldiers who enlisted after January 1st 1994 will now benefit from up to four years of extra service. I broadly welcome this recommendation following significant progress being made in previous discussions between PDFORRA and civil and military management.

“Following this adjudication recommendation which has been accepted by Minister Coveney, serving Technical Privates and Corporals, in Grades 1 and 2, will now not be discharged after 21 years of maximum service provided they meet certain criteria. Instead, they will be eligible for up to another four years of extra service and criteria requirements include meeting annual medical and fitness tests and not exceeding 50 years of age during this period.

“Serving Technical Privates and Corporals of Technical Grade 3 and above will also be able to serve until 50 years of age, subject to them meeting annual medical and fitness tests and any other relevant criteria. Previously, the position was that they had to retire after 21 years of service.

“Naturally, this matter had been causing serious concern for soldiers and their families who have mortgage and family commitments, especially those who have the necessary skills and fitness levels to continue to serve beyond the 21 year limit.

“Minister Coveney explained that the measure was introduced to make sure soldiers are physically fit for a modern force and the rigours of overseas deployment.  The Minister did also say he hoped there would be some flexibility in relation to the rule. This is welcome news to the many soldiers who would typically have been 19 or 20 when they joined the army.”


Contact:  Martin Heydon TD 087-6262546


Note for Editors:

Information on Technical Grades

Enlisted Personnel who are members of the Technician class, who are employed on the duties of their trade or occupation in a wide variety of trade, technical and specialist appointments, e.g. mechanics, fitters, avionics technicians, ordnance, etc may receive Technical Pay.

Enlisted personnel who are in receipt of technical have an opportunity to have a greater length of service in the Defence Forces and a longer career span. Such personnel represent the majority of the enlisted personnel ranks, i.e. there are very few privates who are line personnel, i.e. not in receipt of technical pay.

Rates of Technical Pay are graded Group 1 to 6 based on the technical qualifications required to fill the particular appointment, with higher rates being paid for higher technical skills.

Below is the full list of technical grades and their grouping.  The current rates of technical pay and the six-group structure were introduced in January 1989 following the report of an Inter-Departmental Committee:




Barber, Buglers and Pipe Band personnel.

Clerk other than a clerk in the Military Police Corps.

Driver Motor Transport (MT) (excluding Motor Cyclist and Despatch Rider) other than a non-commissioned officer of the Military Police Corps employed as a driver M.T.


Fireman (Engineer Corps).                                            Tent Repairer

Groom -Grade 1                                                            Writer (Naval Service).

Medic 3 Star                                                               Trainee Instrumentalist




Air Traffic Control Assistant.                                       NCOs of the Military Police

Ammunition Examiner.                                                 Corps (other than those

Audio Visual Production Assistant.                             employed in a specific

Baker.                                                                            trade or occupation

Boot Repairer.                                                               prescribed under this Group).

Butcher (Abattoir).                                                       Photographer (Air Corps) 

Cine Projectionist.                                                         Printer.

Cipher Operator.                                                           Programmer/Operator.

Cook.                                                                            Communications Operative.

Dental Surgery Attendant.                                           Saddler.

Dispenser.                                                                     Schoolmaster.

Draughtsman (other than Engineer Corps                    Surveyor (other than Engineer

 and Ordnance Corps).                                                  Corps).

Farrier.                                                                           Tailor.

Groom – Grade 2                                                           Telegraphist (Naval Service).

Instrumentalist (Defence Forces School of Music).     Network Technician.

Librarian and Storeman (Army School of Music).        Mechanic (Naval Service).

Barrack Personnel Support Service (established unqualified)

Diver (Grade 1 & 2)                                                      Fireman

Health and Safety (NCO) Training                              Instrumentalist (DFSM)

Medical Orderly 3 Star/Ambulance Skills

and one of the following 3 courses

 (Audiometery, Spirometry or Vision Screening)

Medical Orderly 3 Star/ Ambulance Attendant         Plant Operator




Advanced Programmer.                                                Moulder.

Air Traffic Control Aerodrome Controller.                  Painter.

Armourer.                                                                      Patternmaker.

Blacksmith.                                                                   Plasterer.

Bodybuilder.                                                                 Plumber.

Blocklayer.                                                                    Sawyer.

Carpenter.                                                                     Sheet Metal Worker.

Dental Mechanic.                                                          Shipwright (Naval Service).

Electrician.                                                                    Slater.

Construction Plant Fitter.                                             Trimmer.

Joiner.                                                                            Turner.

Mason.                                                                          Fitter Welder.

Military Police Investigator.                                       Emergency Medical Technician

Ammunition Examiner                                                Map Draughtsman

Assistant Librarian                                                      Printer

Dental Nurses/Dental Surgery Assistants                   Instrumentalist

Diver Grade 3






Aircraft Inspector – Grade C.                                       Aircraft Mechanic.

Chief/Systems Programmer.                                         Radar Technician – Grade II

Radio Technician – Grade II.                                        Radio/Radar Technician Grade II(NS)

Barrack Personnel Support Services (Established)

Dental Hygienist                                                         Dental Laboratory Technician

Diver Grade 4

Health and Safety NCO (Qualified)                          Instrumentalist (DFSM)

Electronic Engineering Technician Grade B               Scene of Crime Examiners (SOCE’s)

Software Engineering Technician Grade B                IT Support Technician Grade B

Communications and Information Technician Grade B




Aircraft Inspector – Grade B.                             Instrument Mechanic.

Air Traffic Control Aerodrome and                    Instrument Repairer

Approach Radar Controller.                               (Army School of Music).

Analyst Programmer.                                          Electrical Artificer (Naval Service).

Armament Artificer                                            Laboratory Attendant.

.                                             Radar Technician

                                               – Grade I.

Armament Artificer (Instrument).                      Radio Technician Grade I

Armament Artificer (Radiac).                             Radio/ Radar Technician – 

Draughtsman (Engineers Corps and                   Grade I (Naval Service).

 Ordnance Corps).                                               Surveyor (Engineer Corps).

Engine Room Artificer (Naval Service).

Dental Laboratory Technician/Crown and Bridge

Shipwright/Hull Artificer (Naval Service)

Electronic Engineering Technician Grade A

Software Engineering Technician Grade A

IT Support Technician Grade A

Communications and Information Technician Grade A




Aircraft Inspector – Grade A.

Air Traffic Controller NCO (Tower, Approach and Radar)

Laboratory Technician

Senior Electronic Engineering Technician

Senior Software Engineering Technician

Senior IT Support Technician

Senior Communications and Information Technician