Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Reserve Training
43. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the degree to which the Army Reserve continues to have access to updated training on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45998/19]
The White Paper on Defence sets out a blueprint for the development Reserve Defence Force (RDF) and that their primary role is to support the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in crisis situations. As such, the RDF undertakes training in preparation to assist the PDF when required. Training across the Defence Forces is constantly measured against best military and academic practice. Training procedures are constantly reviewed in order to ensure that the men and women of the Defence Forces are fully prepared to meet the challenges of the ever changing security environment.
In the Army Reserve (AR), recruits undergo varied training in areas such as combat first aid, military law and tactical training. A major part of Recruit training is training in the use of the Steyr 5.56mm Assault Rifle. After recruit training is complete, personnel are then trained in the operation of basic radio communications, map reading, Nuclear, Biological & Chemical warfare defence and the Light Machine Gun. Each Corps also carries out specialist training in its particular field. For example, the Infantry and Cavalry Corps train in weapons and tactics and the Corps of Engineers train in engineering tasks, such as demolition, construction and mine warfare.
With regard to RDF training for the current year, Subhead A.5 provides for a budget of €2.15 million of which €2.068 million is allocated for Paid Training Mandays for members of the Reserve. This allocation will provide seven days annual paid training for each effective member of the AR and Naval Service Reserve (NSR). The budget also provides for fourteen days paid training for all additional personnel recruited to the AR and NSR in 2019 along with career and specialist courses for selected members of the Reserve in line with Reserve priorities. This provision is sufficient having regard to the existing strength of the RDF and the voluntary nature of Reserve training.
In order to facilitate the voluntary nature of Reserve service and to maximise attendance of AR and NSR personnel, training continues to be organised both in and out of normal working hours, at weekends and during academic and traditional holiday periods.
I am satisfied that members of the AR and NSR are afforded the opportunity to avail of training and update their skills on an ongoing basis.