Thursday, 10 November 2016

Questions (348)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

348. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the most up to date figures for the strength of the Reserve Defence Forces; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34298/16]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

As of 30 September 2016, the latest date for which figures are available, the effective strength of the Reserve Defence Force was 2,095, of which 279 are female personnel. Of the 2,095 personnel, 1,971 (256 females) are Army Reservists and 124 (23 females) are Naval Service Reservists.

The White Paper on Defence (2015) sets out an overall establishment figure of 4,169 for the RDF. Following the reorganisation of the Defence Forces in 2013 into a new ‘Single Force’ structure, ongoing monitoring of the implementation process has indicated that the establishment of the Naval Service Reserve should be revised to 300 which will bring the overarching establishment figure of the entire RDF to 4,169 personnel.

Recruitment campaigns are conducted on an annual ongoing basis. The current campaign which commenced in September 2015, was paused for a time to administer recruitment to the Permanent Defence Force and has since recommenced. As of 21st October 2016, a total of 4,686 applications have been received (of which 583 are female).

The White Paper confirms that the primary role of the Reserve is to augment the PDF in times of crisis and to participate in ceremonial events. The implementation of measures set out in the 2015 White Paper will provide opportunities for certain members of the RDF to undertake new duties. I am sure that this and other White Paper initiatives will be a motivating factor in encouraging more people to join the Reserve.

I believe that the Reserve Defence Force is an important asset to the State. I value the contribution of all of its members who volunteer their time and service so willingly and I am fully committed to its ongoing and future development.