3. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the personnel strength of the Defence Forces was lower at the end of February 2018 than at the end of February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20688/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Jack Chambers: What are the reasons the personnel strength of the Defence Forces was lower at the end of February 2018 than at the end of February 2017? Will the Minister of State make a statement on the matter? As he knows, the Defence Forces face a full-blown retention crisis. Despite attempts to enhance recruitment we are haemorrhaging massive numbers. Why does the Minister of State believe that despite the recruitment campaign he is trying to promote, almost the same number of peo...

43. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the personnel strength of the Defence Forces was lower at the end of February 2018 than at the end of February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20384/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, as at:
 - 28 February 2018 was 9,057 (Whole Time Equivalent) personnel.
 - 28 February 2017 was 9,070 (Whole Time Equivalent) personnel.
The overall difference in strength in February 2017 and February 2018 is a reduction of 13 personnel. Variations in strength figures are not an unusual occurrence and, particularly in the short term, are ...