Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Defence Forces Strength
Bernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Question 401: To ask the Minister for Defence the total strength of the Defence Forces, Army, Navy and Air Corps, the strength of the Reserve in each case; if he has satisfied himself that the relevant strengths are in accordance with requirements and best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17646/11]
Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force as of 31 May 2011, the latest date for which figures are available, was 9,650 comprising 7,847 Army, 787 Air Corps and 1,016 Naval Service personnel. The total number of commissioned officers serving as of 31 May 2011 was 1,350. The total strength of the Reserve Defence Force as of 31 May 2011 was 5,642, comprising 5,420 Army reserve and 222 Naval reserve.
The approved Employment Control Framework for the Permanent Defence Force is based on a figure of 10,000 all ranks, appropriately configured across the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps. In 2011, the Defence Organisation, like all areas of the public service, is operating on a reduced budget. The programme for Government also sets out a target for further fiscal consolidation over the period to 2015. In the context of the Employment Control Framework and the available resource envelope, the Military Authorities and officials of the Department are now in the process of agreeing a restructuring of the Permanent Defence Force to ensure its capability to meet the roles assigned to it by Government.
Overall numbers in the Permanent Defence Force, including numbers serving at various ranks will be subject to ongoing control and monitoring on a monthly basis. This is to ensure compliance within the overall parameters and controls set by Government for each sector. The ECF also sets out that it will be necessary to underpin the re-organisation with the required amendments to Regulations and Administrative Instructions.
I am advised that at this time the Defence Forces retain the capacity to undertake the tasks laid down by Government both at home and overseas.