Soldiers will be represented at national pay talks for the first time after a settlement announced in the High Court will allow PDFORRA to have temporary associate membership of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

The settlement arose after a Wexford soldier and PDFORRA took legal action against the Minister for Defence, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The action sought various declarations under the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 over the refusal to provide consent to the soldier to be associated with ICTU.

It was also claimed that a prohibition on soldiers from joining a trade union was unconstitutional.

As part of the settlement, PDFORRA will not call for or support industrial action in the defence forces or other sectors or request its members to engage in any form of dispute or strike.

PDFORRA also agreed not to engage in protests, lobbying or media commentary against Government policy, including through social media.

The temporary associate membership is solely for the forthcoming pay negotiations up to 30 June, 2024 or until relevant amending legislation is passed.

Mr Justice Conor Dignam said it was clear a very significant amount of work has been done to reach this point of agreement.

The legal action by the soldier and PDFORRA also sought a declaration that Section 8 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990 and the restrictions on soldiers under the Defence Amendment Act 1990 prohibiting them from joining a trade union was unconstitutional.

It was claimed that as a result of restrictions in the legislation the soldier had been unable to join any national umbrella group advocating for employee rights and he and PDFORRA had been denied the right to effectively collectively bargain for better terms and conditions of employment.

As a result, they were denied access to the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission and the ordinary mechanisms of dispute resolution available to other citizens through their workers associations and trade unions.

PDFORRA further claimed it remained excluded from all central pay negotiations in the State, all industrial machinery, and all of the protections afforded to workers under the Industrial Relations Act 1990.