Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Questions (265)

Seán Kenny

Question:

265. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Defence if he will have a recruitment drive for the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2177/16]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence. I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, at 30 November 2015, the latest date for which details are available, was 9103 comprising 7307 Army, 750 Air Corps and 1046 Naval Service.

The manpower requirement of the Defence Forces is monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of each of the three services. As there is significant turnover of personnel in the Permanent Defence Force, targeted recruitment has been and is currently taking place so as to maintain the agreed strength levels. A General Service recruitment campaign for the Army was launched on 4 August 2015 and is ongoing. Air Corps General Service Recruits are drawn from the Army General Service Recruit campaign panels as required.

The intake of Cadets into the Permanent Defence Force is normally carried out on an annual basis taking into consideration the operational requirements of the Defence Forces and the resource envelope allocated to Defence. 10 Air Corps Cadets were inducted on 21 September 2015 and remain in service as of 15 January 2016. The Military Authorities advise that a new Air Corps Cadetship campaign will be advertised in either the first or second quarter of 2016.

Direct Entry Competitions are also held as required from which specialist appointments are filled. 24 Apprentice Trainee Technicians were inducted in to the Air Corps in 2015 and remain in service as of 15 January 2016. It is intended to advertise a further competition in the first quarter of 2016.

With the support of the Chief of Staff and within the resources available, it is intended to retain the capacity of the Defence Forces to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government both at home and overseas.