Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (4)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

4. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Defence the number of retired personnel from the Defence Forces who willingly and unselfishly offered their services to Ireland's Call to help with the Covid-19 pandemic; and the number that were actually taken on. [29562/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Last April, the former Minister with responsibility for Defence launched a scheme to re-enlist former Permanent Defence Force (PDF) enlisted personnel. The focus of the scheme was those former PDF personnel with particular skillsets identified as required by the Chief of Staff.

The scheme allows for initial re-enlistment for a minimum of six months and up to 3 years and the duration of the re-enlistment offered depends on the vacancies that exist. The re-enlistment of former personnel with the relevant skills and experience is one of the many actions being pursued to address skills shortages in the PDF. It was a medium to long term initiative which pre-dated the COVID-19 crisis but was accelerated to assist both in the PDF response to the crisis and beyond.

There has been a positive response to the scheme, with over 670 applications received. I am informed by the military authorities that a large number of those applicants, some 384, did not ultimately meet the criteria for re-enlistment, with many exceeding the maximum age limit for service in the Permanent Defence Force at their rank.

I understand that there are currently approximately 143 eligible applicants who are at various stages in the assessment process. The process includes file assessment and interview in addition to medical and security clearance phases. As the Deputy will appreciate, there is a requirement to ensure that any personnel re-enlisted are capable of meeting the requirements of the jobs for which they are sought.

Following recommendations by the Chief of Staff, sixteen personnel have been inducted to date with a further four scheduled to be inducted on 9th October 2020. I understand that further recommendations by the Chief of Staff of personnel to be re-enlisted under the scheme are imminent.

Separately, a scheme which provides for the re-commissioning of former Officers of the Permanent Defence Force is also in place. To date, five Flying Officers have been re-commissioned, with further re-commissioning of Officers likely.

I welcome the re-enlistment and re-commissioning of these personnel and wish them well in their renewed careers in the Defence Forces. Their important contribution to the operational effectiveness of the Defence Forces is appreciated.

Questions Nos. 5 to 11, inclusive, answered orally.