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Covid 19

Government to introduce emergency legislation to allow retired soldiers re-join Defence Forces

The Government is to introduce emergency legislation to allow retired soldiers re-join the Defence Forces.

The new laws have been in the pipe line for a number of months but are now being fast-tracked as part of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Defence Forces are preparing for a great role in the State’s response to the national health crisis and the legislation will clear the path for retired soldiers to return to service.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe brought an amendment to the Defence Act to Cabinet today ahead of the Dáil holding an emergency sitting on Thursday.

It is unclear how many ex-soldiers will seek to re-join the Defence Forces but there is understood to be some interest among retired security personnel in taking part in the State’s fight against the virus.

In November, Minister Kehoe told the Dáil there were 8,751 personnel in the Defence Forces and committed to working to increase this number to at least 9,500.

Last year, the Wexford TD secured a €10m pay package for soldiers which was aimed at retaining personnel and encouraging others to join.

The Defence Forces last week helped set up a mobile HSE test clinic for the coronavirus on Hannover Quay in Dublin City Centre. A number of naval ships are also set to be used as testing sites.

From The Irish Independent.