Discrimination claim over Army recruitment


A 26-YEAR-OLD man has claimed the State is operating an age discrimination policy in requiring Army recruits to be under the age of 25 on the date of enlistment.

Michael Smyth, Millmount Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin, wants the High Court to declare the age requirement is contrary to domestic and EU law and in breach of his constitutional rights.

He has brought an action against the Ministers for Justice, Equality, Law Reform and Defence over an alleged decision by the Defence Forces of October 2011 to withdraw an offer to him to train to become a three-star private.

The case concluded yesterday before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, who reserved judgment.

Mr Smyth claims he first applied to the Defence Forces in August 2010 when he was 24 and, although initially rejected, was contacted in March 2011 and asked if he was still interested. He said he was.

On October 4th last year, Capt Georgina James of the Army recruitment section telephoned him to offer him a position in a platoon of 40 trainee soldiers, starting on November 14th, he claims.

In those circumstances, Mr Smyth, who worked two jobs, formally notified his employers he would be leaving. The following day, he claims Capt James rang him to say there had been a mistake and she could not offer him the position because he would be 25 on the enlistment date.

Mr Smyth said he was “devastated” and, in his action, claims that once Capt James made the offer a binding contract had come into existence.