Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 1 Apr 1999

Vol. 503 No. 2

Written Answers. - Air Corps Scheme.

Paul Bradford


28 Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to persuade pilot officers to remain in the Air Corps in view of the fact that it has been shown that the pilot incentive scheme introduced by him in 1998 has failed in that no officer who had applied to retire changed his mind and stayed in service as a result of the gratuity offered and pilots have continued to leave at an alarming rate. [9285/99]

Andrew Boylan


34 Mr. Boylan asked the Minister for Defence his views on whether the service incentive pay scheme for some Air Corps pilot officers undermines best management practice by paying subordinates more than their superiors in the chain of command. [9291/99]

Richard Bruton


56 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Defence further to the introduction of a service incentive scheme for a selected group of officers, the reason the conditions governing the admission to the scheme were changed to include the requirement to possess a current rating or licence on a selected range of aircraft and helicopters. [9284/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28, 34 and 56 together.

The service commitment scheme was introduced in 1997 for pilot officers of the Air Corps. From the outset the scheme applied primarily to experienced personnel who are currently rated on and flying the Gulfstream IV, Beechcraft, CASA and Dauphin aircraft which are the principal operational aircraft in the Air Corps. The scheme, the conditions of which were not changed as suggested by the Deputy, was introduced with a view to retaining senior pilots who occupy key appointments in areas such as search and rescue, maritime surveillance and ministerial air transport. The gratuities are designed to strike a balance between the demand of the commercial environment and the need to exercise responsibility in relation to public service pay. Such financial incentives are not uncommon in Defence Forces in other countries where similar difficulties exist in retaining qualified personnel.

I am satisfied that the incentive scheme has helped to stabilise the drain of pilots from the Air Corps. A total of 14 pilots have opted to participate in the service commitment scheme and it is likely that a number of pilots who will become eligible for participation in the scheme later this year will also opt to participate.