From the Archives: Representation for Members of the Defence Forces Begins
In 1988 a small number of Sergeants based in Army Barracks around the Dublin area commenced a campaign which sought to establish and have recognised an organisation for enlisted personnel which would seek to improve pay and conditions within the Defence Forces. The campaign quickly spread throughout the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service and within a short period the organisation, which would become known as the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA), was launched claiming to have around 8,000 members.
Following an intense lobbying campaign and some tough negotiations, the Defence Act 1954 was amended in 1990 to allow for such representation. In June of 1990 elections took place throughout the Defence Forces which saw the election of representatives for two new representative associations, PDFORRA who would represent enlisted personnel and the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (RACO). In May 1991, a new Defence Forces Regulation (DFR) S6 further cemented this new departure for the Defence Forces by setting out the scope of representation (mainly Pay and certain Conditions of Service) within which such representations take place. Subsequently, the right to have representation was extended for members of the Reserve Defence Force. A new organisation was brought into being the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association (RDFRA) which is governed by DFR S7.
The links below give a flavour of the media coverage during the genesis of Defence Forces representation.