Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Reserve

Photo of Duncan SmithDuncan Smith (Dublin Fingal, Labour)
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167. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to modernise the public sector circular 51 of 1978, which provides reservists leave for training with the Defence Forces but does not provide cover for other situations such as aid to civil power; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30702/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I am advised that the relevant Department of Finance Circular pertaining to Leave for attendance at training with the Reserve Defence Force, is Circular 51 of 1979.

This circular, as the Deputy will be aware, outlines the provisions for leave arrangements by Civil Servants who attend Reserve Defence Force training.

Any proposals to amend this circular, and increasing leave for Civil Servants under any circumstances, would be outside my remit as Minister for Defence and are instead, a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform.

Under the terms of the Circular, civil servants who are members of the RDF, may currently, be granted special leave with pay as follows if they attend for the full period of the course of training:

- For a course of annual training lasting 7 days – 3 working days

- For a course of annual training lasting 14 days – 7 working days

- For a course of annual training lasting 21 days – 10 working days

- For a course of basic training lasting 14 to 30 days – Special leave with pay for 5 working days.

In addition, selected members of the RDF may attend special courses of training and additional leave with pay is provided in these circumstances.

Civil Servants are eligible for the concessions granted under this Circular once in any leave year.

As members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) continue to contribute to the Government’s response to the current public health crisis, some members of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) who have skills which are required in the COVID 19 response, have been engaged in authorised COVID 19 activities in support of the PDF, on a voluntary basis and where their personal circumstances allow. Members of the Reserve are paid in such circumstances and their support is welcomed. There are no plans to engage members of the Reserve Defence Forces in Aid to the Civil Power.


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