Defence Forces


The roles of the Defence Forces are set out in the White Paper on Defence (pdf), published in August 2015. They are:

  • To provide for the military defence of the State from armed aggression
  • To participate in multi-national peace support, crisis management and humanitarian relief operations
  • To aid the civil power – meaning in practice to assist, when requested, the Garda Síochána
  • To provide a fishery protection service
  • To carry out any other duties that may be assigned to them from time to time, for example, search and rescue, air ambulance service, providing assistance in major emergencies

The Defence Forces Headquarters and the Department of Defence are located in the same building in Newbridge, Kildare. The Defence Forces Chief of Staff liaises with the Minister for Defence on all defence-related matters.

The Defence Forces consist of a Permanent Defence Force and a Reserve Defence Force. The main role of the Reserve Defence Force is to increase the capacity of the Permanent Defence Force to carry out its roles in crisis situations.

The President is the Commander and Chief of the Defence Forces.

Permanent Defence Force

The Permanent Defence Force has an establishment of at least 9,500 personnel and consists of 3 services:

  • Army
  • Air Corps
  • Naval Service


The Army consists of 2 brigades. The 1st Brigade is responsible for military operations in the southern region of the country and has its headquarters in Collins Barracks, Cork. The 2nd Brigade is responsible for military operations in the northern region and has its headquarters in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin. There is also a Defence Forces Training Centre located in the Curragh Camp, Kildare.

You can find more information on the Army on the Defence Forces website.

Air Corps

The Air Corps is the air component of the Defence Forces and has about 750 personnel. It is based at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Dublin. Among other roles, the Air Corp operates the Ministerial Air Transport Service which provides air transport for the President and the Government.

You can find more information on the Air Corps on the Defence Forces website.

Naval Service

The Naval Service is based on Haulbowline Island, Cork and its maximum strength is 1,144 personnel. Among its other duties it provides the primary diving team in the State.

You can find more information on the Naval Service on the Defence Forces website.

Reserve Defence Force

The Reserve Defence Force is a part-time volunteer force of about 4,000 personnel. It consists of the First Line Reserve, the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve. The First Line Reserve is comprised of former members of the Permanent Defence Force.

You can find more information on the Reserve Defence Force on the Defence Forces website.

How to apply

For information on recruitment, contact the Defence Forces Recruitment Section in Defence Forces Headquarters.

Where to apply

Defence Forces Headquarters

Station Road
W12 AD93

Page edited: 11 November 2016