FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What vision must I have?

Army:

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Unaided vision of not less than 6/6 in one eye 6/9 in the other.
  2. Unaided vision less than 1) above, but which is not less than either 6/12 in each eye OR 6/6 in the right eye and 6/36 in the left eye.
  3. Unaided vision of not less than 6/36 in each eye, and can be corrected to not less than 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other.  
  4. Normal colour vision

Naval Service (Admin):

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Unaided vision of not less than 6/6 in one eye 6/9 in the other.
  2. Unaided vision less than 1) above, but which is not less than either 6/12 in each eye OR 6/6 in the right eye and 6/36 in the left eye.
  3. Unaided vision of not less than 6/36 in each eye, and can be corrected to not less than 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other.  
  4. Normal colour vision

Naval Service (Any Branch other than Admin):

  1. Unaided vision must be not less than 6/6 in one eye 6/9 in the other.
  2. Night vision must be normal.
  3. Normal colour vision.
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Where can I find an application form to apply to join the Defence Forces?

Application forms to enlist in the Defence Forces are only found on this web site and are ONLY available when the various recruitment competitions are open. The Defence Forces does not accept applications when competitions are no longer active.

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Who can apply for enlistment into the Defence Forces?

  • Irish Citizens
  • A Refugee under the Refugee Act 1996
  • Nationals of EEA States, i.e. The European Economic Area consists of the member states of the European Union along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
  • Nationals of any other state who are lawfully present in Ireland and have had five (5) years lawful and unbroken residency in the State.
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What circumstances would make a person ineligible for enlistment?

There are a number of situations that would make a person ineligible for enlistment in the Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces. Some  examples of these are: - 

  • A person discharged from the Defence Forces (Permanent or Reserve) or the Military, Naval Police or Air Service of any other country or state because of misconduct or as a result of being found medically unfit.
  • Persons belonging to An Garda Síochána.
  • A person convicted by a civil court of a serious offence.
  • A person in receipt of a disability pension.
  • A person undergoing an apprenticeship.
  • An asylum seeker.

 

 

 

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I have tattoos can I join the Defence Forces?

Tattoos which appear above the collar of shirt will prohibit entry to the Defence Forces.

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What age do I have to be in order to be enlisted into the Permanent Defence Force?

Applicants for General Service with the Army and Air Corps must be not less than 18 years of age and under 25 years of age on the date deemed as the closing date for applications.

Applicants for General Service with the Naval Service must be not less than 18 years of age and under 27 years of age on the date deemed as the closing date for applications.

Applicants for Air Corps Apprenticeship must be not less than 18 years of age and under 21 years of age on the date deemed as the closing date for applications. In the case of serving Defence Forces personnel applicants must be not less than 18 years of age and under 23 years of age on the date deemed as the closing date for applications.

Applicants for Cadetship must be not less than 18 years of age and under 28 years of age on the date deemed by the terms and conditions.

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What is the difference between enlisting as an Officer Cadet, an Apprentice or General Service?

Cadet – on qualification these individuals become Officers of the Defence Forces.

Apprentice – on qualification these individuals are fully FAS accredited tradespersons who are deployed in the various technical Corps of the Defence Forces.

General Service – on qualification these individuals serve as Soldiers, Sailors or Airmen.

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Do I need my Leaving Certificate to apply for General Service?

No formal education qualifications are required to join the Defence Forces as a recruit. However, you must satisfy the Interview Board and the Recruiting Officer that you possess a sufficient standard of education for service in the Defence Forces.

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What are the Educational qualifications for an Officer Cadetship?

School Leavers/Non-Graduates Army & Air Corps:

Candidates for Army and Air Corps must possess a minimum of Grade C3 in 3 Higher Level papers and Grade D3 in 3 Ordinary/Higher level papers, in a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate Examination. Leaving Certificate Applied does not qualify for this competition.

Each candidate for Army (Line) & Air Corps must possess a minimum of Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:

  1. Mathematics.
  2. Irish (NUI Matriculation exemptions apply).
  3. English. (Candidates whose first language is not English must satisfy the English language requirements in accordance with the NUI Matriculations Regulations)
  4. Third language (accepted for NUI Matriculation Registration purposes NUI matriculation exemptions apply).
  5. Any two Matriculation subjects not already selected.

Graduates Army & Air Corps:

Candidates must possess as a minimum Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subject

  1. Mathematics.
  2. Irish (NUI Matriculation exemptions apply).
  3. English (Candidates whose first language is not English must satisfy the English language requirements in accordance with the NUI Matriculations Regulations).
  4. Any three Matriculation subjects not already selected.

Graduate candidates must also have obtained a recognised degree i.e. a Third Level Degree awarded up to the end of 2004. With effect from 2005, candidates will have successfully completed an Honours Bachelor Degree programme at pass or honours level (level 8 of the National Framework of Qualifications).

School Leavers/Non-Graduates Naval Service Operations/Marine

Engineering: -

Candidates must posses a minimum of Grade C3 in 3 Higher Level papers and Grade D3 in 3 Ordinary/Higher level papers, in a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate Examination. Leaving Certificate Applied does not qualify for this competition.

Each candidate for Naval Service Cadetships must posses a minimum of Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:

  1. Mathematics (In the case of Candidates applying for a Marine Engineering Cadetship this must be a minimum of grade C3 in a Higher Level paper).
  2. Irish. (NUI matriculation exemptions apply)
  3. English. (Candidates whose first language is not English must satisfy the English language requirements in accordance with NUI Matriculations Regulations)
  4. Any three Matriculation subjects not already selected.

Graduates Naval Service Operations/Marine Engineering:

Candidates must possess as a minimum Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:

  1. Mathematics. (In the case of Candidates applying for a Marine Engineering Cadetship, and who hold a Degree in a discipline other than Engineering, this must be a minimum of grade C3 in a Higher Level paper).
  2. Irish or English.
  3. Any four Matriculation subjects not already selected. 

AND

Must have obtained a recognised degree i.e. a Third Level Degree awarded up to the end of 2004. With effect from 2005, candidates will have successfully completed a Bachelor Degree programme at level 8 or higher of the National Framework of Qualifications.

OR

hold a Diploma with merit or distinction (from a recognised institution) in Nautical Science or Marine Engineering for Operations Branch and Engineering Branch Cadetships respectively as awarded to the end of 2004, or with effect from 2005, have successfully completed an ordinary degree course (level 7 of the National Framework of Qualifications) (from a recognised institution) in Nautical Science or Marine Engineering for Operations Branch and Engineering Branch Cadetships respectively.

Naval Service Electrical Engineering:

Candidates must possess as a minimum Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Irish or English.
  3. Any four Matriculation subjects not already selected.

AND

Must have obtained a recognised degree i.e. a Third Level Degree awarded up to the end of 2004. With effect from 2005, candidates will have successfully completed a Bachelor Degree (Honours) programme at level 8 or higher of the National Framework of Qualifications in either Electrical or Electronic Engineering.

The Degree at Level 8 must be accredited with Engineers Ireland (EI).

*PLEASE NOTE. Applications for all categories of Cadetships are invited from persons who have applied to sit for examinations in the competition year as will enable them to satisfy the minimum educational qualifications criteria as specified above. 

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I have a criminal record. Can I join the Defence Forces?

The Defence Forces has a high dependence on trust and looks for individuals who are trustworthy and reliable. For this reason, all applicants undergo security vetting by An Garda Síochána, and any convictions are assessed on the severity of the offence.

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What will my everyday life in the Defence Forces be like?

One of the key things about life in the Army is that your job will vary and you'll be doing many different things. While you are on a base, your job is pretty much like any other 9 to 5 job. But you'll also spend time away from the base, training either elsewhere in Ireland or deployed overseas.

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Will I be able to stay in touch with family and friends while completing my initial training course?

While you’re undertaking your training, you will be given plenty of time to remain in contact with family and friends.

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How long can I stay in the Defence Forces?

For those enlisted for General Service, you can initially serve for a period of five (5) years. For those enlisted under the Cadetship and Apprentice schemes, you can serve for twelve years (12). These periods of service are dependent on you passing your initial training course, maintain your medical grading and service efficiency.

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I play sport at a competitive level. Can I keep playing while in the Army?

If you’re playing top-level sports of any kind, the Defence Forces will ensure, where possible, you get the opportunity to compete. The Defence Forces has sportsmen and women who compete at national and international, as well as fulfilling their regular duties.

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What are the height requirements?

The height requirement for all candidates wishing to enlist in the Defence Forces is that they must be a minimum of 157.48cm. 

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Is there a medical examination and physical test?

An offer of appointment in the Defence Forces is conditional on the passing of both a medical examination and a physical fitness test prior to enlistment.

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I have heard that the Defence Forces uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) as one means of determining medical eligibility. Can you explain this?

The BMI is calculated by the formula: weight (kilograms) divided by height (metres) squared, i.e. kg/m2, and is a guideline of an appropriate range of body weight with respect to minimising certain health risks.

Under 17: you will be assessed by the examining medical officer in order to determine whether you could cope with the demands of training.

17 to 29: You fall within the acceptable range for entry.

30 and above: Is not acceptable for entry into the Defence Forces and youwill be classified as medically unfit.

*Please note that the BMI result is indicative only, other factors affect the result. An initial failure of the BMI in the case, for example, of well muscled but short rugby player will result in a Body Fat Composition Test being used in lieu of the BMI test.

Read more about Defence Forces Fitness testing.

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What is the Physical Fitness Induction Test

This test is designed to test the candidate’s current level of physical fitness, the candidate displays to the Board his/her capacity to undergo the rigours of military training.

It is composed of two aspects:

  • Local Muscular Endurance.
  • Aerobic Endurance.

Local Muscular Endurance

  • Males - 20 push-ups and 20 sit-ups.
  • Females - 20 push-ups (Modified) and 20 sit-ups.

Max time allowed 1 minute. This is a Pass or Fail test.

Aerobic Endurance

Candidates will be required to run one and a half (1 & 1/2) miles within the Defence Forces time limit below.These are the max times allowed. This is a Pass or Fail test.

  • Males - 11 Mins 40 secs
  • Females - 13 Mins 10 Secs.
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What are my leave entitlements?

General Service personnel and Apprentices:
Personnel are entitled to 28 days annual leave.

Officers and Officer Cadets:
Annual leave to the extent of 31 days may be granted to cadets and junior officers. Senior officers (Commandant and higher ranks) may be granted 43 days leave.

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Will I have to live in barracks?

General Service personnel & Apprentices:
Personnel will be required to live in barracks throughout the period of initial training. Upon completion of this training personnel can apply to live outside of the barracks

Officers and Officer Cadets:
Personnel will be required to live in barracks throughout the course of initial training. Upon commissioning, Officers can apply to live outside of the barracks.

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Will I have to go overseas?

 

Overseas Service is deemed mandatory for all personnel in the Defence Forces.

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How do I join the Army Ranger Wing?

Personnel may apply, after successful completion of initial training, to undergo the Army Ranger Wing Selection Course.  If the applicant is deemed successful on this course, he/she will then become a member of the Army Ranger Wing.

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Can I apply for the Army Ranger Wing if I’m in the RDF?

No, only members of the Permanent Defence Forces are eligible to apply for the Army Ranger Wing