I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 29 together.
The current average age of personnel in the ranks in question is as follows: sergeant, 40 years; corporal, 34 years; private, 31 years.
The average age for these ranks in 1983 was as follows: sergeant, 33 years; corporal, 28 years; private, 26 years.
The increase in the average ages of personnel of the Permanent Defence Force serving in the ranks mentioned by the Deputy is a reflection of the fact that there has been a significant decline in the past few years in the numbers seeking discharge from the force. This has limited the scope for new recruitment which would otherwise have taken place.