Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Reserve Review
12. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the review of Defence Force Regulation R5 (New Series) on the Reserve Defence Force and on the continuing vital role of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve in Óglaigh na hÉireann. [45360/19]
Defence Force Regulation R5 (New Series) is the governing Regulation for the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve. My Department has been actively involved with the Military Authorities in the process of reviewing DFR R5.
Completion of amendments to DFR R5 (governing the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve) and DFR S7 (matters relating to RDFRA) are interlinked. These Regulations encompass a broad range of matters from Finance, Human Resources, promotions and training to effectiveness criteria. Amendments are complex and time consuming and have required extensive internal consultation. A revised draft of DFR R5 is currently being finalised. Draft amendments to DFR S7 are also being finalised.
I know that the Representative Association for members of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve have a particular interest in this piece of work. I anticipate that they will be invited to provide their comments on the draft amendments in the near future, as part of the normal consultative process.
The Government recognises the important role that the RDF plays in contributing to Ireland's defence capability. The White Paper on Defence is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF and it is currently on a developmental path arising from the recommendations of the White Paper.
A key ongoing challenge for the RDF is to recruit and retain personnel. I am aware that there continues to be a shortfall between the current strength figures and those of the establishment, which provides for 4,069 personnel. Recruitment is ongoing and two recruitment campaigns were organised for the AR and the NSR this year, one in March and a second having recently closed on 20th October. Supports being provided to maximise recruitment to the RDF 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.
Engagement will continue between my Department and the with the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association (RFDRA) on issues of interest to the members of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve.
I would like to assure the Deputy that I remain committed to the ongoing development of the RDF within the framework set out in the White Paper and having regard to resource availability. It is my intention to ensure that momentum on its development is maintained.