Written Answers. - Defence Forces Personnel.

Michael Bell

Question:

137 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Defence the number of Permanent Defence Force non-commissioned officers awarded commissioned rank in the Defence Forces in each of the years form 1990 to 1996; the proposals, if any, he has in respect of 1997; the age and other criteria for the award of commissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3907/97]

The number of non-commissioned officers appointed to commissioned rank in the Permanent Defence Force in each of the years 1990 to 1996 is as follows:

Year

Number

1990

Nil

1991

1

1992

24

1993

Nil

1994

Nil

1995

1

1996

Nil

The question of holding further potential officers' courses is kept under review in the light of the total strength of officers serving in the Permanent Defence Force.
The most recent potential officers' course was held in 1991-92. Applicants for this course were required to fulfil the following requirements: be between 25 and 33 years of age on 1 April, 1991; have a minimum educational qualification of grade D in at least five subjects in the leaving certificate or equivalent; have at least six years service in the PDF; be medically graded not lower than A3; have attained the rank of corporal leading seaman or higher.
NCOs serving in technical appointments who attain the required educational standard may be appointed to commissioned rank, to fill a vacancy for technical officer, provided that they satisfy an interview board as to their suitability. One such appointment was made in the Ordnance Corps in 1991 and another in 1995.

Michael Bell

Question:

138 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Defence whether all promotions in the Defence Forces, permanent and reserve, are filled by competitive interview; whether non-commissioned officers are on such interview boards; the criteria for promotion to senior non-commissioned officer and officer rank, service in line units criteria; the number of promotions in the Permanent Defence Force differentiated between non-commissioned officers and officers in each year since 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3908/97]

In the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) the vast majority of promotions are made on the basis of assessment by selection boards. The procedures and the criteria for the promotion of officers of the PDF are prescribed in Defence Force Regulations A.15. The procedures and criteria for promotion of NCOs are as prescribed in Defence Force Regulations A.10 and in administrative instructions issued from time to time by the Adjutant-General. Copies of these Defence Force regulations are available in the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas. NCOs do not sit on promotion selection boards. The number of promotions in the PDF for the years 1992 to 1996 are as follows:

Year

Officers

NCOs

1992

173

216

1993

163

172

1994

157

210

1995

135

337

1996

113

229

The requirements for the promotion of members of An Fórsa Cosanta Aitiúil and An Slua Muirí are set out in Defence Force Regulations R.5 and R.6 copies of which are also available in the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Detailed criteria governing the promotion of officers have been laid down in relation to such factors as period in present rank, attendance at annual training and annual performance ratings. Personnel of private-seaman rank are required to complete a potential NCO course before they can be promoted to the rank of corporal-leading seaman. At present there is no requirement to complete any further course for promotion to higher NCO rank.

Michael Bell

Question:

139 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Defence the number of Permanent Defence Force personnel serving overseas in each of the years from 1991 to date; the percentage of personnel serving as proportion of Permanent Defence Force strength; the number of acting higher paid ranks arising from such overseas service; the net cost to the Exchequer of such acting ranks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3909/97]

As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement I propose to circulate it in the Official Report. The information sought by the Deputy on the number of acting higher paid ranks as well as the net cost to the exchequer is not readily to hand and would involve a disproportionate amount of time and effort to research same. It is estimated, however, that in the region of 110 plus appointments per annum are involved.

Year

Highest No. of personnel serving overseas at any one time (Approximately)

Percentage of those serving overseas as a proportion of permanent Defence Force strength

1991

840

6.42%

1992

812

5.82%

1993

829

6.5%

1994

848

6.58%

1995

746

5.83%

1996

775

6.21%