Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Questions (15)

Jack Chambers


15. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated number of persons likely to leave the Defence Forces in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38422/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

As at 31st August 2019, 558 personnel had discharged from the Permanent Defence Force. The term 'discharges' encompasses personnel who left for a variety of reasons including on age grounds, at end of contract and voluntary discharges and also includes a number of trainees who exited prior to completion of their initial training. There will be additional discharges in 2019 for various reasons and the majority of personnel who discharge do so prior to the mandatory retirement age and at a time of their own choosing.

In 2018 the overarching turnover of personnel in the Permanent Defence Force was 8.1%. While the overall average departure rate since 2002 is 6.3% this peaked in 2012 at 8.58%. This departure rate, or turnover rate, is comparable to, and in some cases more favourable than, other military organisations worldwide. However, the overarching turnover level does not illustrate important underlying trends. As the rate of turnover within a military organisation can differ across functional areas, the impact of turnover can vary accordingly. Headline turnover figures do not reflect this complexity.

The issue of a fluctuating high turnover rate is also a feature of other military organisations.

Nevertheless, this does not detract from the Governments goal of restoring the Permanent Defence Force to a strength of 9,500 personnel and, in that regard, I have previously acknowledged that there are recruitment and retention issues in the Defence Forces which is reflective of the current buoyant economic environment and jobs market.

I brought these issues to the attention of the Public Service Pay Commission and the recommendations contained in their recent report have been accepted by Government. These recommendations are being progressed through a detailed implementation plan that is driving a number of projects to implement specific recommendations.

The recommendations relating to increases in certain allowances and the re-introduction of a service commitment scheme for Air Corp pilots in the Air Corps are currently being considered by the Defence Forces Representative Associations.

As I have said already today, while it is clear that there is and has been a significant amount of work undertaken in this area, I continue to work closely with the Secretary General of my Department and the Defence Forces Chief of Staff to further enhance the responses to the issues facing the Defence Forces at this time.

Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 9.
Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 13.