Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (98)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

98. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of military police by grade in the Defence Forces; and the number in October 2009. [45174/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I am informed by the military authorities that it was not possible to collate the required information within the timeframe available. I shall provide the figures to the Deputy when I receive them from the military authorities.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 51
I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 98, ref. No. 45174/19 and my original reply stating that it was not possible to collate the required information within the timeframe available. I am now in a position to do so and have outlined the reply to these Questions below. The military authorities advise that they are unable to provide some information you requested, namely:
- Current Unit Strengths - these are not releasable for operational reasons.
- The requested historical strength of the Military Police is not available.
However, the military authorities have provided the following information:
Table 1 illustrates the year end strengths (Whole Time Equivalent) of Brigade 1 and Brigade 2 in each of the years since October 2012 to date.
TABLE 1

Year

1 Brigade

2 Brigade

2012

2,221

3,465

2013

2,366

3,456

2014

2,378

3,428

2015

2,345

3,302

2016

2,303

3,275

2017

2,287

3,245

2018

2,269

3,197

2019

2,008

2,896

2020*

1,911

2,951

*as at 31st May 2020.
Table 2 details the yearly strength of each branch of the Permanent Defence Force and the Naval Service Reserve from 2011 to 2019 and the strength as at 31st May 2020:
TABLE 2

Year

Army (WTE)

Air Corps (WTE)

Naval Service (WTE)

Naval Service Reserve (Effective)

2011

7,650

791

997

146

2012

7,510

791

1,058

140

2013

7,434

779

1,023

155

2014

7,457

766

1,057

143

2015

7,309

748

1,083

138

2016

7332

704

1,090

122

2017

7,386

734

1,053

124

2018

7,243

725

989

133

2019

7,002

721

936

139

2020*

6,837

727

887

122

*as at 31st May 2020
In 2012 the Government decided to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500 personnel and this was further reflected in the White Paper on Defence (2015). While the Government remains committed to returning to, and maintaining this agreed strength, the capacity of the Defence Forces to induct and train recruits has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 situation. This has resulted in the postponement of the majority of inductions in the year to date.
The Defence Forces remain committed to optimising the number of personnel inducted during 2020. In that context, the military authorities have advised that they are currently finalising plans to re-commence General Service training and recruitment, taking public health guidelines into account. A campaign to re-enlist former members of the Permanent Defence Force, to fill certain vacancies, is also underway.
In addition, the report of the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) of 2019 contains a range of recommendations aimed at improving work-force planning, recruitment and conditions of service for members of the Defence Forces. A High Level Plan to give effect to the recommendations of the PSPC is being implemented.
It should be noted that as the High Level Implementation Plan contains short, medium and long term measures, the full impact of these measures will take time to determine. There are also a range of external variables which impact on recruitment and retention and which can change and these will be carefully monitored to assess their effect as they arise.