Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - University Grants for Army Cadets.

33.

asked the Minister for Defence why there was a reduction in the amount of money made available in respect of cadets attending university from £38,000 in 1979 to £30,000 last year in view of the needs of the Defence Forces; why there was a further reduction to £17,850 in 1981; and if he will give an undertaking to increase the number of cadets attending university.

Under a review, in 1978, of the scheme for the assignment of cadets and officers of the Army to courses of third level education, cadets appointed in 1978 and subsequent years did not attend university as part of their cadet course. Instead, on being commissioned as officers, those who were considered suitable and who were willing to undergo such courses were assigned to third level courses. All the officers who were commissioned in 1979 and 1980, with the exception of six officers who were selected to commence pilot training in 1980, were assigned to full time courses of third level education.

The amount provided in 1979 and 1980 for attendance at third level courses of education were the amounts which were expected to be required to meet the cost of attendance of officers at such courses and were adequate for this purpose. It is intended to continue the practice of assigning newly commissioned officers to third level courses and I am satisfied that the amount provided in the current year will be adequate to meet the cost of such attendance.

Arising out of the Minister's reply could he say what the current number of cadets attending third level courses is and whether there has been any change from last year?

The following courses are being attended at University College, Galway, by officers under the scheme at present—engineering course, science degree course, commerce degree course and arts degree course. There is a science degree course at University College, Dublin, and a physical education course at Thomond College of Education, Limerick. I am sorry I have not got the numbers.

Could the Minister tell me whether there is any obligation on members of the Defence Forces, who have their third level education paid for out of these funds, to remain in the Defence Forces after they receive their qualifications for any stipulated length of time?

I have not got that information with me but I will communicate with the Deputy.