The Permanent Defence Force continues to offer excellent career opportunities for serving personnel and for new entrants. I have acknowledged previously that there are challenges relating to the recruitment and retention of particular personnel within the Defence Forces and I have set out actions being undertaken to address them. The underlying causes for this issue are complex and can include pay and non pay issues.
The Government tasked the Public Service Pay Commission with examining challenges relating to recruitment and retention in the Defence Sector in more detail. The Public Service Pay Commission has commenced this work and it would not be appropriate to speculate on possible outcomes of that work.
The White Paper on Defence sets the defence policy agenda over a ten year period. It includes a broad programme of human resources development for which work is already underway on 11 projects.
The Conciliation and Arbitration scheme for members of the PDF, which provides a formal mechanism for the PDF representative associations to engage with the Official side, affords a facility to assess HR issues. I am currently reviewing the recommendations made in the recently published report on the review of the Scheme. I look forward to engaging with all parties in progressing reforms to the existing Scheme.
In addition to the above, I meet with senior civil and military management on a frequent basis to discuss all aspects matters relating to the Defence Forces. I am satisfied that there is in place a suite of measures that provides a satisfactory framework within which matters relating to Human Resources in the Defence Forces can be addressed as needs arise and, on that basis.
I will continue to work closely with the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General in developing these approaches.