Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Questions (912, 914, 917, 918)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

912. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Defence the way in which Defence Forces recruitment and retention issues will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40399/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

914. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Defence the strength of the Permanent Defence Force as of 30 June 2021; if he will provide a breakdown of all ranks across the three service and a breakdown by gender of same in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40886/21]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

917. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Defence the number of existing members of the Defence Forces by service in tabular form; the established figure for that service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40904/21]

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John Brady

Question:

918. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Defence the number of members of the Defence Forces by service that have left the Defence Forces over the past five years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40905/21]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 912, 914, 917 and 918 together.

As at 30th June 2021, the strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) was 8,519 personnel and the attached table provides a breakdown by rank, gender and service. The Government remains committed to returning to, and maintaining the agreed strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprised of 7,520 Army personnel, 886 Air Corps personnel and 1,094 Naval Service personnel, as set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015).

The table below details, by year and service, the total number of personnel who left the PDF over the past 5 years along with details of the cohort who discharged while in training:

-

Army

Naval Service

Air Corps

Year

Discharges Total

Discharges in Training

Discharges Total

Discharges in Training

Discharges Total

Discharges in Training

2016

525

137

103

30

51

4

2017

588

167

96

36

58

6

2018

529

110

148

25

63

4

2019

655

158

139

22

88

7

2020

488

156

100

28

48

6

Within the PDF, the term 'discharges' encompasses personnel who left for a variety of reasons including on age grounds, at end of contract and voluntary discharges and, as shown above, also includes a number of trainees who exited prior to completion of their initial training.

I have acknowledged in the past that there are on-going difficulties in the Defence Forces, and these have been well-documented. The sea-going service commitment scheme and an extension of a tax credit, both for sea-going Naval Service personnel, are examples of targeted measures aimed at retaining experienced personnel. This follows the reintroduction of a successful service commitment scheme for Flying Officers in the Air Corps.

Recruitment continues and has resulted in 238 personnel being inducted as at 30th June 2021 and further inductions are planned.

Further initiatives, that also play a role in restoring capacity and in boosting specialist’s numbers, include:

- The campaign to re-enlist and re-commission former members of the Permanent Defence Force.

- Direct Entry is utilised for the recruitment of specialists with further competitions being progressed.

A Commission on the Defence Forces has also been established to examine a range of matters relating to the Defence Forces and are consulting widely. I look forward to receiving their recommendations in due course.

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2021-07-27_pq912-27-7-21_en.xls.