1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the recruitment and selection process for those wishing to join the Irish Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) (na hÓglaigh Cúltaca).

2.0 Organisation of the RDF

Restructured in 2005, the RDF is organised into the:

  • First Line Reserve comprised of former members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF); and
  • Second Line Reserve comprised of the Army Reserve (Cúltaca an Airm) and the Naval Service Reserve (Cúltaca na Seirbhís Cabhlaigh).

3.0 Training Commitment

Members of the RDF are part-time soldiers and sailors with training centred around weekly training parades, which are generally two hours in duration.

RDF members will also undertake:

  • Field days (daytime, typically once per month);
  • Field days (overnight, typically once per month); and
  • Summer camp (up to 14 days).

4.0 Outline of Army Reserve Training

Training within the Army Reserve includes:

  • Combat first aid;
  • Organisation of the IDF;
  • Teamwork;
  • Military law; and
  • Tactical training.

Reserve personnel are first and foremost soldiers, and early training emphasises this, with all reserve candidates going through the same recruit training process.

For an outline of Army Permanent Defence Force (PDF) basic training look here.

Once candidates have successfully completed basic training they will then undertake continuation training in their Corps. An outline of two to three star training can be found here.

Examples of specific Corps training include:

  • Corps of Engineers undertake training including demolition, construction, and mine warfare.
  • Artillery Corps undertake training including 105 mm light gun and surveying skills.
  • Communication & Information Services Corps undertake training including radio communications and technological equipment.
  • Military Police Corps undertake training including enforcing military discipline and supervising the movement of personnel and equipment.
  • Air Defence Batteries undertake training including air defence.
  • Logistic Supply Battalions undertake training including transport and supply.

5.0 Outline of Naval Service Reserve Training

Training within the Naval Service Reserve is delivered at a number of locations across Ireland, including the naval base located at Haulbowline, County Cork and the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) near the naval base in Ringaskiddy, County Cork.

This training includes:

  • Sea Survival:
    • A two-day course focused on personal survival techniques (PST).
    • It is a mix of theory (classroom-based) and practical (in the NMCI pool).
    • This training simulates what you might expect to encounter in a real situation, for example, inflating and getting into a life raft or learning to right a capsized life raft in simulated sea conditions.
  • Fire-fighting and damage control (FFDC):
    • A three-day course focused on FFDC in a ship environment.
    • Largely practical in nature, trainees learn how to identify (e.g. electrical versus fuel-based) and extinguish fires, boundary cooling, entry techniques, and how to use breathing apparatus and other FFDC equipment, and escape smoke-filled compartments.
    • Damage control training is conducted in a specially built unit that simulates water entering the vessel via various means (e.g. pipes and holes in the hull).
  • Boat Training:
    • There a variety of courses delivered at a local and NMCI-level.
    • Training includes safe operation of the craft, mechanics, navigation, and seamanship.
  • Weapons Training:
    • Training includes foot and arms drill, weapon handling, and live firing.
  • Communications:
    • Training includes voice procedure, handling of VHF radios, and global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) radios.

For an outline of Naval Service PDF basic training look here (being written).