Written answers

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Strength

5:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 155: To ask the Minister for Defence the strength of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps reserves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13769/08]

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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The Reserve Defence Force (RDF) is comprised of the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve. The current number serving in the Army Reserve is 8,018 and in the Naval Service Reserve is 311.

The White Paper on Defence outlines the blueprint for the RDF. An Implementation Plan has been developed to realise the White Paper vision and is being rolled out over the period to end 2009. The RDF has already seen significant improvements in terms of organisation, clothing, equipment, training and resourcing. It is now structured along similar lines to the PDF and the development of the integrated element of the Reserve is in its second year. All of these developments enhance the capabilities of the Reserve as well as improving interoperability with the PDF. These factors are also significant enablers in facilitating the planned participation by Reserve personnel in overseas missions.

The Implementation Plan envisaged a requirement to promote recruitment to the RDF following the period of re-organisation and restructuring set out in the Plan. I am pleased to say that planning for this is now underway and an advertising campaign to promote recruitment to the RDF will be launched later in the year.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 156: To ask the Minister for Defence his views on whether the strength of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps needs to be increased to compensate for deployments overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13771/08]

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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The White Paper on Defence of February 2000 set out a figure of 10,500 personnel for the Permanent Defence Force as the strength sufficient to meet all foreseeable military requirements for the period comprehended by the White Paper (i.e. up to 2010). This remains the position. It is the Minister's intention to maintain the established Government policy of ongoing recruitment to the Defence Forces. This recruitment will continue to maintain the strength at the level set out in the White Paper.

The agreed Programme for Government provides for an additional provision of up to 350 troops to be in training at any given time. However, due primarily to the requirement to prioritise funding for the Chad mission, it has not been possible to provide funding to activate this provision in 2008. This matter will be further considered in the context of the 2009 Estimates.

The White Paper on Defence provides for an allocation of up to 850 Permanent Defence Force personnel to be deployed overseas at any one time. While this may be exceeded for short periods, deployments above this level are not sustainable on an ongoing basis within existing resources. Any commitments to EU or UN missions will be met within this context.

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