Written Answers. - Defence Forces' Gender Imbalance.

Ivor Callely

Question:

17 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Defence the total number of personnel, male and female, currently serving in the Irish Armed Forces; the measures, if any, he intends to introduce to redress any imbalance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11047/96]

Helen Keogh

Question:

23 Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to improve the percentage of females in the Defence Forces in view of the current male/female ratio. [11060/96]

Ivor Callely

Question:

140 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Defence the total personnel, both male and female, in the FCA; the plans, if any, he has to redress any gender imbalance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11124/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 23 and 140 together.

There are 179 women serving in the Permanent Defence Force which has a total current strength of 12,745. There are 2,807 women serving in the FCA which has a total strength of 14,748.
Women are eligible to serve in the Army, the Air Corps and the FCA and to compete for all appointments on an equal basis and under the same conditions as those which apply to men. All female personnel undergo the same training and receive the same military education as their male counterparts. In essence the basis of selection is suitability rather than gender.