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Speech by the Minister of State at the Department of Defence,
Mr Paul Kehoe, TD,
at the Reserve Defence Forces Commissioning Ceremony
Curragh Camp
4 November 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is a great pleasure to be present here today at the Defence Forces Training Centre to participate in a very important event for the Reserve Defence Forces, the commissioning of new officers.

A Commissioning Ceremony is a very special occasion as it marks the graduation of the newest cohort of officers to serve in the Reserve Defence Force. It records the end of each new officer’s induction training and it is a day on which the Defence Forces, the individual new officers, and their families can be proud.

Today’s Commissioning Ceremony celebrates the success of eighteen individuals in completing the training necessary to allow them to become commissioned officers. It is a very special day for each of you and I offer my warmest congratulations to you all. I would also like to welcome your family members, friends and guests, to this very special event. I would like to thank them for their support and to acknowledge their contribution to your success.

Each Commissioning Ceremony marks the coming of age of a new generation of military leaders. The scrolls I have just presented to you indicate that each of you is now a commissioned officer of the Reserve Defence Forces. The solemn oath each of you took today, to be faithful to Ireland and loyal to the Constitution, marks you out from every other section of society. With the completion of your training you are now equipped with skills necessary to face the many and varied challenges you will encounter as Officers of the Reserve Defence Forces.

The Reserve Defence Force plays a significant role in the Defence Forces. The work undertaken by the Reserve could not take place without the dedication and loyalty of the individual Officers, NCOs and men and women of the Reserve Defence Force and I think it is important that I acknowledge that here today. The Reserve brings people into the Defence Forces from different backgrounds and with different life experiences; among the officers commissioned here today are Engineers, Teachers, students, managers, a postman, a barrister, a writer and a trained jockey.

As an essential and integral part of the Defence Forces, the Reserve Defence Force continues to be a training organisation for military skills. In the Reserve training will continue to be the number one priority. The levels of paid training however will be determined by the budget allocation. In 2012 again over 2,400 reservists will have availed of the opportunity to undergo seven days full time training while recruit training has been afforded fourteen days full time training.

However, there can be little doubt that like all areas of the public service, in the future members of the Reserve will be faced with challenges arising out of the economic difficulties that our country is facing.

The current economic climate demands that we continue to achieve efficiencies in all parts of the public sector in order to deliver high quality public services. The Defence Forces, including the Reserve, continues to lead the way in terms of transformation and modernisation, and provides a model for public sector reform.

The Government is conscious of the demands being made of the Defence Forces by the requirement for further restructuring of the Organisation. We are determined to do all that we can to protect the capacity of the Defence Organisation to operate effectively across all its assigned roles.

With specific regard to the Reserve Defence Force, a Value for Money Review of the Reserve was completed and submitted to the Minister for Defence and Secretary General of the Department of Defence last month. In advance of its publication, and in line with the guidelines and normal procedure for Value for Money Reviews, responses to the recommendations contained in the review are currently being developed. When this process is completed, and the Review has been considered by the Government, it will be published on the Department of Defence website. I understand that this should be in the near future. While the recommendations of the Review will inform the future of the Reserve, the skills and talents that the eighteen individuals commissioned today will bring to its Officer Corps will be essential to its ongoing modernisation and its effectiveness.

To successfully complete the training leading to a commission requires motivation, dedication and perseverance on the part of the individual, allied with the skilled professionalism of your trainers. As I mentioned earlier, it also requires the support and encouragement of family and friends. So today is a celebration of real achievement and marks the passing of a great milestone in your service with the Reserve Defence Force and I want to conclude by wishing Keith, John, Mark, Nicholas, Alan, Stephen, Donal, Michael, Lindsay, Eoin, Lisa, Roy, Seamus, Annemarie, Aisling, Carin, Justin & Neil a long and successful career.

Thank you all very much and I hope you enjoy the remainder of this very special day.

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