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.