Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (124, 125)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

124. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 51 and 52 of 31 January 2019, the specific elements of Defence Forces height standards being reviewed; the specific timeline for the review; when it will begin; when conclusions will be reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8189/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

125. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Defence Forces are considering reducing the height requirements for all recruits and cadets at entry; if so, when a decision on same can be expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8190/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 125 together.

The minimum height requirement for general service is set out in Defence Forces Regulation. This prescribes a minimum height requirement for enlistment for general service in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) of 157.48cm. This requirement was made following recommendations by a Defence Force Working Group which reported in January 2006 and reduced the previous height requirement for both males and females.

The determination of a minimum height requirement for enlistment in the Defence Forces is based on the ergonomic requirements for all members of the Defence Forces to train and carry out operations both at home and overseas with service Personal Load Carrying Equipment.

The height requirements in place were introduced following detailed consideration and were intended to ensure that personnel can conduct safely the various military task assigned to them, and they are of general application to all recruits. Accordingly, the height requirements remain in place.

The military authorities have informed me that a study group has been convened by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) in order to review the standards of height for entry into the Defence Forces. The terms of reference for the group provide for the group to assess and recommend changes to the current height standards.

The group contains representatives from all three services of the Defence Forces and includes medical personnel, personnel from training establishments and military HR. The group convened in late September 2018 and I am informed that the group is in the final stages of deliberations and should report in the coming weeks.