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About the Army Reserve


Army Reservists, who are they and what do they do?

The Defence Forces in Ireland consists of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). The RDF, comprising the First Line Reserve, Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve, is a very important component of Ireland’s defence arrangements.

Army Reservists are essentially volunteers that participate in Defence Forces Training in their spare time.

The Army Reserve organisation is integrated into the Permanent Defence Forces and plays an increasingly important role in supporting the Defence Forces' mission.


The Reserve Defence Force takes its lineage from 1929 when the Volunteer Reserve Force was established. During the course of World War Two, it later developed into the Local Security Force as an auxiliary Police Service as well as an auxiliary to the Army. 

In 1947 all reserve forces were disestablished and in their place were created the First Line Reserve (FLR) and the Second Line Reserve – An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCÁ) (Local Defence Force).


In 1999, a steering group convened by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces submitted a report on the restructuring of the Defence Forces Reserve. 

In 2005 the FCA was stood down, The Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) was established in line with the recommendations of this report, and as part of a wider restructure of the Defence Forces from 2000 onwards. 

From 2013 the RDF was reorganised into subunits of the Permanent Defence Forces as part of the 'Single Force Concept'.