Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (170, 173, 175)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

170. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the current strength of each branch of the Defence Forces throughout the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29534/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the degree to which recruits are attracted to the Air Corps; if issues have become obvious which might deter recruitment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29537/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

175. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the total strength in each branch of the Defence Forces at present; the extent to which membership of the Army, Navy Service and Air Corps has fluctuated in the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29539/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170, 173 and 175 together.

As of the 30th August 2020, the latest date for which such data is available, the current strength of the Permanent Defence Force was 8,374 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) personnel, comprised of 6,763 Army personnel, 716 Air Corps personnel and 895 Naval Service personnel.

The following table shows the equivalent data for years 2010-2019: -I wish to advise the Deputy that the strength figures for the period 2010-2012 include personnel who were on secondment to other organisations or on career breaks. The strength figures for 2013 onwards are calculated net of those personnel.

Branch

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Army

7,752

7,650

7,510

7,434

7,457

7,309

7,332

7,386

7,243

7,002

Air Corps

766

791

791

779

766

748

704

734

725

721

Naval Service

1,032

997

1,058

1,023

1,057

1,083

1,090

1,053

989

936

Total

9,550

9,438

9,359

9,236

9,280

9,140

9,126

9,173

8,957

8,659

The Government remains committed to returning to, and maintaining the agreed strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, as set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015).

While the Covid 19 situation did impact on the capacity of the Defence Forces to induct and train personnel, all recruitment activities have now resumed, taking public health guidelines into account. As at 30th September, the 2020 recruitment plan had resulted 8,227 applications and some 1,300 of those were for the Air Corps.

To date, 340 personnel have been inducted in 2020 and, in respect of the Air Corp, this includes 8 Air Corps cadets, 19 Air Corps Apprentices, 3 re-commissioned officers and 5 re-enlisted personnel.