Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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372. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if Defence Forces recruitment and retention issues are being addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62898/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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A range of actions have been taken to address recruitment and retention issues in the Permanent Defence Force and bridge the shortfall between the current strength figures and those of the establishment.

The strength of the PDF at the end of October 2021 was 8,572 personnel. Ongoing recruitment initiatives have resulted in a total of 574 personnel being inducted to date in 2021. The scope of direct entry competitions was expanded in 2021 to include a new Air Corps Aircraft Technician competition. Direct entry terms and conditions continue to be revised to improve intakes. Additionally, the re-entry campaign for former members of the PDF continues.

Concurrent retention initiatives such as a service commitment schemes in the Air Corps (for pilots) and the Naval Service have been launched. Furthermore, fifteen projects were undertaken to facilitate the implementation of the Public Service Pay Commission Report on Recruitment and Retention and most of these projects have been completed.

The Commission on the Defence Forces is due to submit their report by the end of the year and I look forward to receiving the report in due course. Its recommendations will be fully considered and will inform future decisions regarding the Defence Forces.

My focus remains on restoring all branches of the Defence Forces to their full capacity and in that context there has been significant work undertaken to date.


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