Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (20, 23, 24, 37, 53)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

20. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Defence when the commission on Defence will be established. [29139/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

23. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the commission for the future of the Defence Forces; the person who will be on the board; if representatives of the Defence Forces personnel such as an organisation (details supplied) will be on the commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29106/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Cathal Crowe

Ceist:

24. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if the commission on the future of the Defence Forces has been constituted; the way in which he plans to address pay deficiencies in the Permanent Defence Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22242/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

37. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Defence the progress made regarding the establishment of a commission on the future of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28529/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

53. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the commission for the future of the Defence Forces; if representatives of an organisation (details supplied) will be on the commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29110/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 23, 24, 37 and 53 together.

Establishment of a Commission on the Defence Forces is an important commitment made in the recently agreed Programme for Government. The Commission will be tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review which will include the following matters:

- Arrangements for the effective defence of the country at land, air and sea.

- Structures for governance, joint command, and control structures.

- The brigade structure.

- Pay and allowances and composition of the Defence Forces.

- Recruitment, retention and career progression.

- The contribution of the Reserve Defence Forces, including its legislation and Defence Forces regulations governing it, and whether specialists from the RDF should be able to serve overseas.

The Programme for Government provides that membership of the Commission will contain a wide variety of expertise such as management, human resources, academia, law, and public service, as well as members with external military expertise.

While the Programme for Government states that the Commission is be established before the end of 2020, with a mandate to report within 12 months, I am anxious to ensure that it is established as early as possible before the end of this year and I am working with my Department in an effort to achieve this.

Having regard to the current restrictions in place for Covid19, I am considering a range of options to ensure wide consultation on the Terms of Reference in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government. It is important to stress that the final decision on both membership of the Commission and its terms of reference will ultimately be a matter for Government and, pending the outcome of the consultation process, no decisions have been taken to date. My immediate priority is to commence consultation on the terms of reference as committed to in the Programme for Government.

Upon completion of the Commission's work, a permanent pay review body will be established, reflecting the unique nature of military service in the context of the public service. All recommendations by the Commission or the successor body and their implementation must be consistent with national public sector wage policy.