Written answers

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Training

10:00 pm

Photo of Peter KellyPeter Kelly (Longford-Roscommon, Fianna Fail)
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Question 149: To ask the Minister for Defence the progress he has made to date to encourage greater opportunities for both general service recruits and experienced non commissioned officers to become commissioned officers of the Defence Forces; his future plans in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8647/07]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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Significant progress has been made recently in implementing schemes to enable more commissioning from the ranks.

The revised cadetship competition is now seen as the primary means of commissioning from the ranks. The cadetship competition has been revised to increase the maximum entry age to 28 and to award bonus marks to candidates with previous experience in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) or Reserve Defence Force (RDF). Results for the 2005 and 2006 cadetship competitions were encouraging with a total of 28 applicants with military service in the Defence Forces being successful in the 2005 cadetship competition and a further 23 applicants with military service being successful in the 2006 cadetship competition.

In addition, in the past two years, 3 members of the Defence Forces were commissioned as officers from Direct Entry Competitions for appointments as Engineer Officers in the Corps of Engineers and Conductors in the Army School of Music.

Consultations with the representative associations are nearing completion regarding the conditions and procedures for the implementation of an internal Commissioning From the Ranks competition. I expect the Military Authorities to hold the competition in the near future. This competition will provide an opportunity for enlisted personnel who have passed the cadet entry age to compete for entry on a potential Officers Course and ultimately, a commission. The competition offers the possibility of enhancing the Officer Corps with the skills and expertise of these personnel.

The outcome of this competition will inform policy on the issue of similar future competitions.

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