Thursday, 11 April 2019

Ceisteanna (42, 43)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

42. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the strength of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps reserves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17171/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

43. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the degree to which regular training is made available to the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps reserves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17172/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 43 together.

The Reserve Defence Force (RDF) is comprised of the First Line Reserve, the Army Reserve (AR) and the Naval Service Reserve (NSR).  The Government appreciates the service of the Reserve Defence Force and recognises its importance in contributing to Ireland's defence capability.  The White Paper on Defence is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF and confirms that its primary role is to augment the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in crisis situations.

The strength of the Reserve Defence Force, as of 28 February 2019, is set out below:

Service 

 Total Effective Personnel

 Army Reserve

 1634

 Naval Reserve

 125

 First Line Reserve

 288

In order to facilitate the voluntary nature of Reserve Service and to maximise attendance of Reserve personnel, training continues to be organised both in and out of normal working hours, at weekends and during academic and traditional holiday periods.

The primary function of training and education in both the Permanent Defence Force and the Reserve Defence Force is to develop and maintain capabilities necessary to enable personnel to fulfil the roles laid down by Government. The scheduling of training in the Defence Forces, including the Reserve, is underpinned by an analysis of training needed to meet operational output requirements and capability development needs. A long term strategy is adopted with current planning horizons out to 2021. In addition the White Paper on Defence sets out a developmental path for the Reserve.

Within the budget of €2.15m allocated to the Reserve, seven days annual paid training is provided for in respect of each effective member of the Reserve.  The budget also provides for fourteen days paid training for all additional personnel recruited to the Reserve in 2018 along with career and specialist courses for selected members of the Reserve in line with Reserve priorities. This provision is sufficient having regard to the existing strength of the RDF and the voluntary nature of Reserve training.

I am satisfied that members of the Amy Reserve and Naval Service Reserve are afforded the opportunity to avail of training and update their skills on an ongoing basis.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 40.