Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Force Personnel.

Robert Molloy

Question:

10 Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Defence if, in view of the cost of providing specialist education to train an officer to assume supervisory duties in the Directorate of Information Technology, such personnel will be considered technical officers for purposes of terms and conditions of services in the same manner as officers of the Engineer, Ordnance and Medical Corps.

Máirín Quill

Question:

11 Miss Quill asked the Minister for Defence the cost of providing specialist educational training to an officer to assume supervisory duties in the Directorate of Information Technology.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 11 together. Before they are assigned to the Military Information Technology Section officers are required to have appropriate academic qualifications in computing. Up to now these qualifications have usually been obtained by one of the following methods: a primary degree course at University College, Galway (UCG) under the scheme of third level education for newly commissioned officers followed by a one year post-graduate diploma course in computer science at University College, Cork (UCC); and a degree course in computer applications at Dublin City University (DCU) under the scheme of third level education for newly commissioned officers.

At present the fees for a general degree course at UCG are £1,450 a year while the fees for the computer applications course are £1,834 a year. Since the 1990-91 academic year there are no fees payable in respect of the diploma course at UCC. For all courses the cost of books and other incidental expenses are borne by the Department and officers continue to be paid their normal pay while undergoing a course.

The remuneration and conditions of service of personnel of the Permanent Defence Force come within the scope of the recently established conciliation and arbitration scheme for the force. Any proposal to change the conditions of service of personnel employed in the information technology area would come within the ambit of the scheme.

I thank the Minister for his reply. The information I am seeking is whether there is a policy for dealing with such classified persons and whether they would be considered in the same way as Engineer, Ordnance and Medical Corps officers for pension purposes and so on?

I do not quite understand whether the Deputy is asking about the pay or whatever?

I would point out that Engineer, Ordnance and Medical Corps officers remain on until the age of 65. Can those officers be classified as technical officers for the purposes of the terms and conditions of service?

To the best of my knowledge they are not so classified at present. Matters relating to the pay and conditions of personnel come within the ambit of the conciliation and arbitration scheme. That would be the proper forum in which to pursue that particular matter.

Question No. 12, please.