Written answers

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Strength

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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59. To ask the Minister for Defence when Defence Force numbers will reach the agreed ceiling of 9,500; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2749/16]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Minister, Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food; Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence. I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, at 31 December 2015, the latest date for which details are available, was 9,140 whole-time equivalent personnel. This figure comprises 7,309 Army, 748 Air Corps and 1,083 Naval Service whole-time equivalent personnel.

The manpower requirement of the Defence Forces is monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of each of the three services. Personnel are posted on the basis of operational needs across the organisation both at home and abroad. The significant turnover of personnel that is the norm in military services, requires targeted recruitment so as to maintain personnel numbers at or near the agreed strength levels.

A General Service recruitment campaign was launched on 4 August 2015 and is ongoing. As of 31December 2015, 49 Cadets, 307 General Service Army & Navy recruits and 50 other personnel including apprentices, instrumentalists and doctors were inducted into the Defence Forces. Further recruitment campaigns are planned for 2016.

With the support of the Chief of Staff, I am confident that we will retain the capacity of the Defence Forces to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government both at home and overseas.

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