The question of the recruitment of Non-Irish Nationals to the Defence Forces is not a new one. Defence Force Regulations have always allowed for the recruitment of non-Irish nationals to the Defence Forces. Entry to the Permanent Defence Force is either through the Cadetship Competition, Apprenticeship Competition, General Service Enlistment or Direct Entry Competitions which are held to fill vacancies in specialist appointments. All applicants for each of these entry streams are required to meet qualifying criteria.
There are generally more applicants for positions in the Defence Forces than places available. The Department and the Defence Forces are fully committed to ensuring that all suitably qualified candidates who wish to do so are given the opportunity to join the Defence Forces. The primary focus in recruitment is to attract people with the core competencies required by the Defence Forces.
Non-Irish Nationals have been and are currently employed in the Permanent Defence Force, but this has mainly been in certain specialised areas.
In terms of statistics, it is not the Defence Forces approach to categorise personnel by nationality or place of birth. However I am aware that currently 8 of the 20 Medical Officers in the Defence Forces are Non Irish Nationals.
An applicant who is a native born or naturalised citizen of another EU Member State may be enlisted into the Defence Forces providing they meet the same criteria as Irish nationals and are security cleared. Consequently there are no specific arrangements with Member States of the EU in relation to the recruitment of Non-Irish Nationals to the Irish Permanent Defence Force.