Dáil debates

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

3:00 pm

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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Question 13: To ask the Minister for Defence the number of vacancies within his Department; the dates on which these will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6838/12]

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)
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Question 24: To ask the Minister for Defence if he will provide figures for the total number of employees in his Department who have availed of early retirement thus far and will avail of early retirement in the coming weeks; if he has prepared any contingency to deal with adverse consequences of these retirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6827/12]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 24 together.

Since 9 March 2011, a total of six civil servants in my Department have availed of early retirement. To date, a further four civil servants have formally indicated their intention to avail of early retirement before 29 February 2012. The Government’s National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 sets out revised ceilings for public service staff numbers for the Department of Defence which are to be achieved through the implementation of the employment control framework, ECF. Since the introduction of the ECF, my Department has maintained its services through a range of measures, including restructuring, reprioritisation and realignment of business processes, and so on. My Department is required to meet an authorised staffing level of 358 for 2012 and has already met this target. Where a post falls to be filled, my Department will use the mechanisms available.

I am confident that my Department will continue to deliver on its objectives by reprioritising work and streamlining business processes to achieve greater efficiencies despite the reduced numbers.

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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Will the Minister confirm that the Department is operating at full capacity in terms of personnel and that there is no shortfall in personnel?

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Happily, we are probably one of the few Departments-----

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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That is probably the case.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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-----that are in such circumstances. In the context of the Defence Forces, because of the careful accounting within the Department and the efficiencies within the Defence Forces we will be in a position to proceed with further recruitment also as we go through the year so that we maintain the numbers. I accept the Deputy was asking about the Department rather than the Defence Forces but there will be recruitment so that we maintain the numbers at 9,500 in the future.