Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Personnel Data
68. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Permanent Defence Force recruits under the minimum height requirement of 157.48cm that were admitted to the Defence Forces in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of these still enlisted in the Defence Forces. [9453/19]
The policy on height requirements for general service within the Permanent Defence Force is intended to ensure that personnel can conduct safely the various military tasks assigned to them, and they are of general application to all recruits. The minimum height requirement for general service recruitment is set out in Defence Forces Regulation. This prescribes a minimum height requirement for enlistment for general service in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) of 157.48cm. This requirement was introduced following recommendations by a Defence Forces Working Group, which reported in January 2006, and the previous height requirement for both males and females was reduced.
Entry criteria as set out in Defence Forces Regulations must be observed. In order to provide the information sought by the Deputy, the Military Authorities inform me that it would be necessary for them to inspect the individual file of each general service recruit inducted between the 1st January 2011 and the present date. Given that there is a regulatory requirement that specific height requirements are met, such a significant investigation could not be justified. In the case of this question, I am informed that several thousand files would need to be inspected.
The military authorities have informed me also that a study group has been convened by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) in order to review the standards of height for entry into the Defence Forces. The terms of reference for the group provide for the group to assess and recommend changes to the current height standards.
The group contains representatives from all three services of the Defence Forces and includes medical personnel, personnel from training establishments and military HR. The group convened in late September 2018 and I am informed that the group is in the final stages of deliberations and should report in the coming weeks.