Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (47)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

47. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the Reserve Defence Forces receive annual training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24753/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The White Paper on Defence sets out a map for the RDF and that their primary role is to support the PDF in crisis situations. As such, the RDF undertakes training in preparation to assist the PDF when required. Training across the Defence Forces is constantly measured against best military and academic practice. Training procedures are constantly reviewed in order to ensure that the men and women of the Defence Forces are fully prepared to meet the challenges of the ever changing security environment.

In the Army Reserve, recruits undergo varied training in areas such as combat first aid, military law and tactical training. A major part of Recruit training is training in the use of the Steyr 5.56mm Assault Rifle. After recruit training is complete, personnel are then trained in the operation of basic radio communications, map reading, Nuclear, Biological & Chemical warfare defence and the Light Machine Gun. Each Corps also carries out specialist training in its particular field. For example, the Infantry and Cavalry Corps train in weapons and tactics and the Corps of Engineers train in engineering tasks, such as demolition, construction and mine warfare.

In the Naval Service Reserve, the two main courses undertaken as a recruit are Sea Survival and Damage Control & Fire Fighting. Naval Service Reserve personnel also undergo training in the operation of various crafts operated by the Naval Service, such as Motor Training Launches and Rigid Inflatable Boats. As in the Army Reserve, Naval Service Reserve personnel are trained in the use of the Steyr 5.56mm Assault Rifle. Naval Service Reserve personnel also receive full training in VHF Radios, including voice procedure at sea and operation of the VHF systems. Courses are also run for personnel on the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

With regard to RDF training for the current year, Subhead A.5 provides for a budget of €2.15 million of which €2.068 million is allocated for Paid Training Mandays for members of the Reserve. This allocation will provide seven days annual paid training for all effective members of the Reserve, fourteen days paid training for all additional personnel recruited to the Reserve in 2019 and provide for career and specialist courses for selected members of the Reserve in line with Reserve priorities. This provision is sufficient having regard to the existing strength of the RDF and the voluntary nature of Reserve training.