As the Deputy will be aware, the Naval Service is the State's principal sea-going agency tasked with a variety of defence and other roles. While the primary day to day tasking of the Naval Service is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State's obligations as a member of the European Union, it also carries out a number of other non-fishery related tasks. The Naval Service continue to carry out a significant security role, which is vital to Ireland's national priorities and interests.
Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is a significant turnover of personnel in the Naval Service on an annual basis and in recent years the levels of departures have exceeded intakes. The Government has acknowledged these recruitment and retention issues and the fact that they are currently impacting on Naval Service operations. A range of actions have been taken to date to address these issues and further actions are currently under consideration.
I am advised that the Naval Service has a comprehensive in house system of training across all ranks, delivered through the Naval College. This is supplemented in relation to the training of apprentices and Marine Engineers as required through other academic institutions. This holistic approach to training ensures that personnel have the necessary skill set to deliver the broad range of services that the Naval Service provides to the State and internationally as required.
I am committed to ensuring that the personnel of the Naval Service and the Defence Forces as a whole, continue to be trained to best international standards.