Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Defence
57. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 69 of 22 April 2021, the reason for the refusal to extend the scheme beyond 2021; the reason the scheme is not being extended to the vital air crew and technicians that underpin all aviation operations (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22556/21]
As I have previously outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 69 of 22 April 2021, the development of the Air Corps Flying Officers Commitment Scheme arose from a recommendation made in the Public Service Pay Commission report on recruitment and retention in the Defence Forces.
Following engagement by my officials with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), and in line with the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission, sanction was obtained for the re-introduction of a service commitment scheme in 2019 with a view to assisting in the retention in service of experienced pilots in key appointments in the Air Corps. This was seen as a critical need for continued operational capability and in line with the PSPC recommendation, the scheme was introduced, solely for this cohort.
The sanction also provided that the scheme would be additionally offered to newly eligible Flying Officers for 2 subsequent years, 2020 and 2021.
As set out under the terms therefore, there will be a further iteration of the Scheme for newly eligible Flying Officers in 2021. The Service Committment Scheme does not extend to other cohorts in the Air Corps as the sanction covering the scheme does not provide for this.
I wish to reiterate that a recuitment campaign for Aircraft Apprentice Technicians has been recently launched and further recruitment intiatives within the Air Corps are also under consideration.