Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Defence Forces

10:20 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The report of the Commission on the Defence Forces contains many detailed recommendations. As I outlined earlier, a process is under way to consider these recommendations in consultation with Government colleagues. However, I take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that the Permanent Defence Force continues to offer excellent career opportunities for both serving personnel and new entrants. Of course, we have seen examples of what should not be happening, but there are many good things happening as well.

The military authorities have advised that leadership and career training is provided to ensure that Defence Forces personnel are prepared for exercising command authority across the full range of military functions, both at home and overseas in international operations, and that the organisation has the necessary pool of leaders and commanders at all levels. I understand there were a total of 376 promotions in the Permanent Defence Force across all ranks in 2021, and there have been a further 64 promotions, again across all ranks, in the Permanent Defence Force to date in 2022, that is up to the middle of February.

The Defence Forces recognises the value of the individual to the organisation and has already undertaken a number of measures to enhance the work-life balance of service personnel. A number of family-friendly overseas appointments for personnel have been introduced where the normal six-month tour of duty can be shared with another member of the Defence Forces resulting in a three-month deployment. The Defence Forces have also placed a renewed focus on members whose spouse or partner is also in the organisation, with a view to ascertaining how they can be assisted when their spouse or partner is deployed away from home.

In addition, a range of harmony measures are being explored and implemented, including hot-desking for certain enlisted and commissioned personnel who have been posted away from their home addresses. In certain non-command appointments, such personnel can work several days a month in a military location closer to home. I will come back on the issues that are not yet resolved, but it is important to say there are positive changes.


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