Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Strength
The Government remains committed to achieving the strength target of at least 9,500 personnel for the Permanent Defence Force, as set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015). There are a number of factors, some of which are hard to predict, which will impact on the timeframe within which this will be achieved.
Recruitment has continued in 2018 with the running of two General Service recruit competitions, a Cadet competition, apprentice competitions, instrumentalist competition and direct entry streams. This has resulted in over 600 personnel being inducted to date in 2018. The most recent figures, provided by the military authorities, give the whole time equivalent strength of the Permanent Defence Force as just below 9,000 personnel. Further inductions are scheduled in November and final figures for numbers inducted in 2018 and strength will not be available until year end. Recruitment progress will be reviewed in the coming weeks and this will inform future plans.
The Government is committed to retaining 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.
100. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which optimum strength in the Defence Forces is being maintained with equal reference to the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48628/18]
103. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the degree to which he remains satisfied regarding the strength of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, with particular reference to ensuring the maintenance of recommended levels of strength throughout all branches; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48631/18]
107. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacant posts remaining to be filled at all levels in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48635/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 100, 103 and 107 together.
The following table sets out the current strength (as of 31 October 2018, the latest date for which figures are available from the Defence Forces) in whole time equivalent of the PDF across all services and ranks.
The Government remains committed to returning to, and maintaining, the agreed strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel as set out in the White Paper on Defence (2015).
In order to achieve this target, there are significant recruitment opportunities available in the Permanent Defence Force, at both enlisted and officer level, for eligible individuals who wish to have a rewarding and positive career in service to the State. The Permanent Defence Force continues to offer excellent career opportunities for serving personnel and for new entrants. Two general service recruitment campaigns, an officer cadetships competition, a competition for Air Corps apprentices, a competition for DF School of Music instrumentalists and the 2018 RDF recruitment campaigns all took place this year.
A second general service recruitment campaign, launched on 10 September 2018 and closed on 7 October 2018, attracted 2,111 applications. Successful applicants from this campaign will be inducted early in 2019.
Some 600 personnel have been inducted to date in 2018. Final figures for numbers inducted in 2018 will not be available unitl year end. Recruitment progress will be reviewed in the coming weeks and this will inform future plans.