As of the 31 of October, 2015 (the latest date for which figures are available), the serving strength of the Permanent Defence Force was 9,155 (whole-time equivalent). Budget 2016 includes a provision of some €416 million for Permanent Defence Force Pay and this amount will allow for the payment of the full establishment of 9,500 personnel, in line with the commitment in the White Paper on Defence.
The estimate full year salary costs of increasing a serving strength of 9,500 personnel to 10,000 personnel is approximately €11M; and €11M per increase of 500 personnel thereafter.
The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at or near 9,500 personnel; comprising of 7,519 Army, 887 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service. Targeted recruitment has taken place so as to maintain the level of personnel in, and to ensure the operational capacity of, the Defence Forces. It is my intention, with the support of the Chief of Staff and within the resources available, to retain the capacity of the Defence Forces to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake, both at home and overseas, the tasks that are laid down by Government.