FIFTY members of the Defence Forces have been promoted despite a public service ban stemming from financial cuts imposed by the Government.
The limited exemption was secured by Defence Minister Willie O'Dea to allow the military authorities tackle priority operational requirements.
The promotions involve nine officers and 27 from other ranks. Four others are being used to fill vacancies for senior technical officers and the rest will be allocated to priority posts as they arise. A further 30 vacancies will be filled by 'acting up' appointments in the near future.
Approval for the promotions was sanctioned by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan before Christmas. Last year, Mr O'Dea was also granted a new deputy chief of staff, two brigadier generals, and a competition for 42 new cadets and 100 'acting up' posts at home and on overseas peace missions overseas.