Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Duncan Smith (Dublin Fingal, Labour)
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356. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has considered the establishment of a reserve unit for the Air Corps with the necessary skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40304/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Government recognises the importance of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) in contributing to Ireland's defence capability. The 2015 White Paper on Defence is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF.

The RDF is comprised of the First Line Reserve (FLR), the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve The FLR consists of former trained members of the PDF who are available at short notice to supplement the PDF in times of crisis. The strength of the FLR, as at 31 October 2020, is 274 personnel, which includes 26 former Air Corps personnel.

The Programme for Government 2020 contains a commitment to establish an Independent Commission on the Defence Forces. The work of the Commission will encompass the role and contribution of the RDF. Any recommendations the Commission may make in regard to the future structure of the RDF will be given due consideration, in due course.

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