On 1 April last, I announced a scheme to re-enlist former enlisted personnel who have the skills and expertise required to fill identified gaps in the Permanent Defence Force. The scheme will allow for initial re-enlistment for a minimum of six months and up to 3 years.
The re-enlistment of former personnel with the relevant skills and experience was one of the many actions being pursued to address the skill shortages in the PDF. It is a medium to long term initiative which pre-dates the COVID crisis, but which also facilitates the COVID response. While the legislation to permit re-enlistment had been published in the term of the last Dail, the enactment of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 includes this provision. The scheme will support the Defence Forces in responding to, and sustaining their response to, the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
The terms and conditions were agreed with the Representative Association, PDFORRA on 1 April last. Under those terms and conditions, individuals who wish to re-enlist will serve for a specific period and for a specific purpose which will involve the use of a particular skill or area of expertise which cannot currently be met through the use of existing military resources. In addition, individuals will be required to meet a range of general eligibility criteria including medical and physical fitness to ensure they are capable of performing normal military duties.
I would like to emphasise that anyone who leaves of their own volition during the period of their enlistment up to three years will not be required to make any payment in order to discharge.
Since announcing the scheme, which is still ongoing, 614 applications have been received.
The Military Authorities have advised that 502 applicants have been deemed eligible at the application stage and are going forward for assessment. Upon completion of this process, and having regard to specific shortages which exist within the Permanent Defence Force, the Chief of Staff will then make recommendations to me as to those that should be re-enlisted.