Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Retirement Scheme

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
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108. To ask the Minister for Defence if professional servicemen who have passed all medical and physical tests required of them are going to be retired under the post '94 contact, and when a definitive response will be provided to them. [46534/14]

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
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109. To ask the Minister for Defence if he will take steps to critically examine and review the service history of all those personnel that are about to be discharged under the post '94 contract with a view to seeing what internal Defence Forces courses could be offered to upskill these personnel prior to leaving. [46535/14]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos .108 and 109 together.

As I have outlined previously to the House, a claim has been received from the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) in relation to this matter and it is being dealt with under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force.

Discussions have been taking place with the Representative Association, with regards to their claim, under a special Subcommittee of Conciliation Council. As discussions under the Scheme are confidential to the parties involved, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the matter at this time, other than to emphasise that in dealing with this issue the manpower and operational needs of the Defence Forces must be the primary consideration.

As Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals it is necessary that its members be physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations and to undertake their duties on deployment overseas. It is vital the age and health profile of personnel be such as to ensure that operational capability and effectiveness are not compromised. As such, in order to maintain the age profile of the PDF to carry out the operational tasks required by Government, it is necessary to have a constant input of recruits into the PDF. The maximum age for personnel who have enlisted in the PDF post 1 January 1994 provides the mechanism through which a satisfactory age profile can be achieved.

However, while there was significant progress made in discussions between PDFORRA and Civil and Military Management it was not possible to reach full agreement. As a result, the issue is being referred to third party adjudication for a ruling. It is expected that the adjudication hearing will take place as soon as possible following the exchange of submissions between the parties.

In the meantime work is continuing on exit support measures to support those due to be discharged. A number of military courses, and other skills courses are already accredited with various Third Level Institutions and Professional Bodies. In addition, a comprehensive training course to aid Transition to Civilian Life for these personnel , which involves a skills appraisal and review of a person’s service history and training already provided, is currently being piloted.


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