Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (435)

Seán Kenny

Ceist:

435. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Defence his plans to have a recruitment drive for the Defence Forces in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11685/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I announced the launch of a new recruitment campaign for Enlisted Personnel in both the Permanent and the Reserve Defence Force on Friday 7th March 2014. The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel and this current campaign will enable us to do that.

The Defence Forces plan to induct up to 400 personnel to the Permanent Defence Force (both Army and Navy) and up to 500 personnel to the Reserve Defence Force (both Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve) in 2014. This will be the first intake of recruits to the Reserve following on from the reorganisation of the Permanent and Reserve Defence Force in line with the 'Single Force Concept' whereby Reserve Units are embedded into Permanent Defence Force Formations.

The new recruitment campaign is designed to attract enthusiastic and committed men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities to a career in the Defence Forces. With the changes in the makeup of Ireland's population, it is important that we raise awareness and attract recruits from all backgrounds, including the new Irish, so that our Defence Forces, Permanent and Reserve, reflect the society that they serve. As part of the recruitment campaign the Defence Forces are contacting various groups representative of the different ethnic groups in the State. There is also extensive engagement with schools, colleges and sports clubs and organisations. The Defence Forces are particularly interested in attracting applications from women. The Defence Forces is committed to full equality among all its personnel irrespective of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Applicants for recruitment to both the Permanent and Reserve Defence Force will be required to complete broadly similar assessments including physical fitness and interview assessment. The recruitment competition for both the Permanent and Reserve Defence Force will be run through a centralised online application system on the Defence Forces website www.military.ie. Details of the competitions will also be available on the website.

With the support of the Chief of Staff and within the resources available, I intend to retain the capacity of the Defence Forces to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government both at home and overseas.