Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Nursing Service.

asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that positions in the Army Nursing Service were never advertised and that the vacancies were filled from a pre-emergency waiting list; if he will state how and by whom this waiting list was supplied; and if it is intended for the future to depart from the principle of private nomination, and publicly advertise such vacancies, and have the selection made by a medical board.

Vacancies in the Army Nursing Service have not been advertised because the number of applicants on the waiting list kept in the Department has been at all times more than sufficient to fill the vacancies which have arisen. Vacancies which have arisen since the emergency arose have not been filled from a pre-emergency waiting list. The list, which has been compiled in my Department, includes the names of all eligible applicants irrespective of the date of application.

No question of private nomination has ever arisen and, having regard to the large number of applicants for appointment, I do not propose to advertise vacancies as I cannot see that such action would serve any useful purpose. When vacancies arise applicants are called for medical examination and, if they satisfy medical requirements, for subsequent interview by an interview board. The board, which normally consists of a senior officer of the Army Medical Service and a matron or staff sister, recommends candidates for appointment and I make the appointments from amongst the candidates so recommended. This procedure is in accordance with Defence Force Regulations.

May I ask how this list has been compiled? I want to know that, because I got applications recently from people who want to get their names on it. How was the list compiled in the first instance? Was it as a result of putting an advertisement in the newspapers, by nomination, or how?

It was compiled in the way I have mentioned in my reply—on the applications received from applicants.

What I want to know is, how did those people know when they were to apply, as well as the terms offered?

There is nothing sinister in the mode adopted at all. It has been operating over a number of years. The list was composed of about 900 applicants for, I think, 80 vacancies. I see no reason why an advertisement should be put in the newspapers when we already had 900 applications from certificated and registered nurses.

Are there 80 vacancies at the moment?

No. Eighty vacancies have been filled.

How many vacancies are there at the moment?

None at the moment.

What happens when vacancies arise?

Persons to fill them are taken from this list.

How are they selected from the list?

I have already explained the procedure, and if the Deputy were listening he would have heard what I said.

Are the names of the candidates for final selection submitted to the Minister by the chief of the Army Medical Services, or what is the procedure?

That is the procedure —that they are selected by the chiefs of the Army Medical and Nursing Services.