Thursday, 11 July 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Reserve Review
60. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of personnel in the Army Reserves and Naval Service Reserves; the personnel numbers the Army and Naval Service reserves are from the target of 4,000 personnel; the status of steps taken to increase the number in the reserves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30545/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 61 together.
As of 31st May 2019 the strength of the Reserve is as follows:
First Line Reserve: 290 personnel
Army Reserve: 1577 personnel
Naval Service Reserve: 124 personnel
I am very much aware that there continues to be a shortfall between the current strength figures and those of the establishment of the AR and NSR, which provides for 4,069 personnel. A key ongoing challenge for the RDF is to recruit personnel. A total of 66 new recruits have been inducted to the RDF to date in 2019. Supports being provided to maximise recruitment to the Reserve include the use of social media and outreach activities by RDF members. PDF recruit exit interviews now contain information on applying for membership of the RDF.
Under the current phase of implementation of White Paper actions, two White Paper projects have been identified which are important precursors to the establishment of a Specialist Reserve. A gap analysis of skills sets in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) will identify potential roles for Reserve members who possess specialist skills. Options to develop the First Line Reserve are also currently being examined.
The assignment of responsibility of Director of Reserve Defence Forces to the Director of Combat Support and ISTAR has allowed for the provision of guidance, across all units and formations with RDF assets, in developing their capabilities. This is in line with the single force concept and the role of the Reserve as described in the White Paper on Defence. The focus will be to harness RDF skills and talent, maximising its development on the basis of mutual engagement with the PDF. Specific project areas will focus on training, regulation, recruitment, retention and promotions and will be supported through RDF and PDF reciprocal training, mentoring and education.