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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 22 Apr 1998

Vol. 489 No. 7

Written Answers. - FCA Training.

Billy Timmins


76 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Defence if he has made provision in the 1999 Estimates to cater for two weeks training for FCA personnel. [9275/98]

Paul Bradford


100 Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Defence the number of FCA man days provided for, and used, in 1997; and the proposals, if any, he has to permit FCA personnel perform routine barrack duties, outside of their training camp period, to assist PDF personnel in this task. [9304/98]

David Stanton


162 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Defence if FCA units will be allowed to permit serving reservists avail of two weeks training in 1998 within the current allocation of man weeks for annual training in view of the huge falloff in FCA recruiting. [9555/98]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 76, 100 and 162 together.

As part of the Government's programme for achieving reductions in the level of public expenditure it was found necessary to curtail annual training for members of the Reserve Defence Force having regard to the provisions in the Defence Vote for the training of the reserve.

There is no plan to increase the provision in the Defence Vote in 1999 to cater for two weeks annual training for the reserve. The provision in the Defence Vote 1997 provided for 63,000 man days to be used in seven day periods of annual training, 14 day courses of instruction and casual security duties. There is no change in the position for 1998.

I am advised by the military authorities that the total number of man days used in 1997 was 61,242 of which 1,095 days were used in the performance of casual security duties by members of the FCA. I am further advised that the shortfall in usage of man days arises from the fact that members are not always in a position to attend for annual training or courses of instruction. Recruitment to the FCA and An Slua Muirí is continuous and is permitted to the extent necessary to replace wastage.
A study of the Reserve Defence Force, which consists of the First Line Reserve, An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and An Slua Muirí, is taking place at present. The study will be wide-ranging and will include an examination of reserve training needs. Pending the completion of the study I do not intend to take any action that could be regarded in any way as pre-empting the findings and recommendations of the steering group that I set up to oversee the study.
Membership of the FCA and Slua Muirí is voluntary and the members devote a considerable amount of their spare time to the community through the medium of part-time military service. Their dedication and enthusiasm is recognised and valued in local communities throughout the country and at national level by the Government.