Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (402)

Michael McGrath


402. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Defence when the authority to recruit and maintain the new strength for the Reserve Defence Force will be delegated; if he is concerned at the effects of claimed delays for security clearance from An Garda Síochána which has an adverse impact in previous years and inhibited timely replacements. [11217/13]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Defence Vote, like other areas of the public sector, has seen significant reductions in funding in recent years. This has reduced the levels of paid training that was available for members of the Reserve and recruitment to the Reserve was restricted accordingly. The recently published Value for Money Review of the Reserve Defence Force recommended the retention of a Reserve of approximately 4,000 personnel. In order to ensure the sustainability of this strength level it recommended withdrawing gratuities from members of the Reserve and re-directing this funding to increase the number of paid training man-days. This will facilitate appropriate levels of recruitment to sustain the new Reserve strength ceiling.

New Reserve organisational structures are currently being implemented. As part of this process the military authorities will assign existing members of the Reserve to posts within the new organisational structures. When this process in complete, the military authorities will identify if any vacancies exist and what level of recruitment may be required. Applicants to the Reserve Defence Force are vetted by the Garda Central Vetting Unit as part of the recruitment process. I understand that the processing times for vetting of applications is currently 8 to 10 weeks and this will be taken into account in the context of any future recruitment.