1. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20687/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Deputy Jack Chambers: I echo the Leas-Cheann Comhairle’s welcome to the delegation.
My question is to ask the Minister of State at the Department of Defence if he will review the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces and if he will make a statement on the matter. As the Minister of State knows, we had the first southern brigade headquarters in Cork, the second eastern headquarters in Dublin and the fourth western headquarters in Athlone. That consolidation was done on the basis of claimed e...

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...

17. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to scrap or lower intelligence tests which are used to select recruits to the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20387/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I am aware of recent media reports that Psychometric Tests may be scrapped for Defence Forces recruitment and that the Department of Defence is “looking at dropping or lowering the bar on psychometric testing”. This is factually incorrect and misleading.
The Defence Forces utilise Psychometric Tests, as distinct from intelligence tests, during the recruitment process. They have advised that, according to the latest research, psy...

26. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20385/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As part of a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, a decision was taken to consolidate the three understrength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. The decision was taken because it was clear that the previous three-brigade structure was no longer viable, particularly when compared to international norms. Key aspects of the reorganisation included the consolidation of understrength units into a smaller ...

27. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if an exit snapshot survey or interview has been carried out by the Defence Forces on members leaving the force; if so, the findings of the survey; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20386/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Military life places unique physical and psychological demands on individuals and given the rigors of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. This is not new and the Permanent Defence Force has always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other areas of the public service.
Exit questionnaires are given to personnel as part of the administrative processing of t...

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 ...

80. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of new recruits in the Defence Forces since 2011; and the number of those recruits who are no longer in the Defence Forces. (Question 20390/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The following table sets out the number of general service recruits inducted for each of the years 2002 to 2017 inclusive. It does not include those in cadetships. Data collated by the military authorities does not track individual entrants but is collated in the aggregate. As set out in the table, it is not unusual to have more than 20% of any annual recruitment intake leave during induction training.  
 Year Number...

99. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if media reports that in 2016 it cost the taxpayer €15 million to replace Defence Forces personnel that left were accurate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19817/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.
Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. This is not new and the Permanent Defence Force has always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other areas of the public service. This is a necessary feature of military organisations and allows for continu...

100. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of members of the Permanent Defence Force in whole-time equivalent terms, that left the service in each of the years 2013 to 2017, for reasons other than retirement; the branch of the service of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19818/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.
Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. This is not new and the Permanent Defence Force has always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other areas of the public service. This is a necessary feature of military organisations and allows for continu...

101. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated savings that would be made in terms of training and recruitment if the numbers leaving the Permanent Defence Force in 2018 for reasons other than retirement were halved relative to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19819/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.
Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. This is not new and the Permanent Defence Force has always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other areas of the public service. This is a necessary feature of military organisations and allows for continu...

75. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on whether fast accrual is designed to deliver optimal final benefits after 30 years of contributions and that standard accrual is designed to deliver optimal benefits after 40 years of contributions in Defence Forces pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18315/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Pensions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Military occupational pension (superannuation) schemes operate within the broader context and framework of public service pension policy as determined by Government.  The design, structure etc. of military superannuation arrangements has evolved in the overall context of public service pension reforms, especially developments over the past two decades or more.  For operational and HR policy reasons, Permanent Defence Force (PDF)...

76. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel who have incurred injuries or illness in the course of their duties in each of the years 2015 to 2017; the number of Defence Forces personnel on public hospital waiting lists as a consequence of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18316/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The maintenance of a cadre of personnel capable of meeting the physical demands of a career in the Defence Forces is a key human resources requirement. The provision of medical services by the Defence Forces is designed to ensure that Defence Forces personnel are medically fit to undertake the duties assigned to them. The granting of sick leave or the administration of medical treatment is not a determination on how injuries or ...

77. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel who receive private health cover as part of their terms and conditions of service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18317/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Medical Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The provision of medical services within the Defence Forces is a combination of primary care, secondary care and an occupational medical service designed to ensure that Defence Forces personnel are medically fit to undertake the duties assigned to them and to treat any medical conditions arising, which would inhibit their capacity to undertake such duties. 
Medical Services provided to members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF...

134. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of the 14 separate commitments assigned to his Department in the Programme for Partnership Government that have been commenced, completed, abandoned and are ongoing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15954/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Programme for Government Implementation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Programme for a Partnership Government contains an ambitious range of commitments that my Department continues to prioritise. Separately, the White Paper on Defence has set the defence policy agenda over a ten year planning horizon. Several of the commitments assigned to my Department arising from the Programme for a Partnership Government overlap with existing White Paper commitments that are being implemented. 
To date, wo...

135. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of the 88 projects committed to in the 2015 White Paper on Defence that have been commenced, completed, abandoned and are ongoing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15955/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - White Paper on Defence)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The 2015 White Paper on Defence sets the defence policy agenda over a ten year planning horizon and encompasses all work carried out by the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces and Civil Defence. It comprehends the Government’s policy on defence of the State from armed aggression, the defence contribution to domestic security, the defence contribution to international peace and security and a broad range of other “non-secur...

136. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of personnel at each rank throughout the Permanent Defence Force; the number by gender and age; the number for the Reserve Defence Force by gender and age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15956/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the tables below. Normal statistical returns made to me by the Defence Forces do not include details of age.
Permanent Defence Force Strength - as of the 28th February 2018
 PDF Male Female Total LT GEN 1 0 1 MAJ GEN 2 0 2 BRIG GEN 8 0 8 COL 37 1 38 LT COL 128 2 130 COMDT 280 47 327 CAPT 307 66 373 LT 218 21 239 Total Officers 981 137 1,118 SGT MAJ...

137. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the projects engaged by the defence enterprise committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15957/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - White Paper on Defence)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government approved arrangements in July 2011, whereby Enterprise Ireland would support the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces capability development through engagement with Irish-based enterprise and research institutes on the use and application of innovative civilian technologies in the military sphere. The White Paper on Defence confirms this arrangement, stating the Defence Forces will make available resources...

138. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number and rank of PDF members that retired in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; the number and rank of all PDF members eligible to retire in each of the years 2018, 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15958/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 138 together.
The number of departures from the Defence Forces at all ranks in each of the years 2002 to 2018 is set out in the table below. (Figures quoted for 2018 are as of the 28th February 2018). Over this time frame different strength ceilings applied to the Permanent Defence Force. The White Paper (2000) set the strength of Permanent Defence Force at 10,500 personnel. This number w...

139. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number and rank recruited to the Defence Forces in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of projected recruits in 2018, 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15959/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The table below sets out the information requested by the Deputy for the period 2015 to 2017:
 Year Category Rank Inducted 2015 General Service RECRUITS 307 2015 Cadets CADETS 49 2015 Direct Entry Medical Officers & Direct Entry Conductor CAPTAINS 1 2015 Direct Entry Enlisted Engine Room Artificer SERGEANTS 5 2015 Army School of Music PTES 19 2015 Air Corps Apprentice APPRENTICES 24 2015 Total   405 Ye...

140. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the measures or initiatives planned to encourage more persons to seek a career in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15960/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 141 together.
The nature of military service requires that the age and health profile of personnel in the Defence Forces must be appropriately managed to ensure that capability requirements are met. In this context, the Defence Forces have a higher level of turnover than other areas of the public service and this is a feature of military organisations internationally.
Rates of pay and con...

141. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the initiatives he will introduce to retain Defence Forces members and discourage them from leaving the Defence Forces for the private sector, particularly within the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15961/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 141 together.
The nature of military service requires that the age and health profile of personnel in the Defence Forces must be appropriately managed to ensure that capability requirements are met. In this context, the Defence Forces have a higher level of turnover than other areas of the public service and this is a feature of military organisations internationally.
Rates of pay and con...

142. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on whether it is acceptable that families of Defence Forces members are dependent on family income supplement payments to cover household costs; the measures being undertaken to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15962/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.
Rates of pay and conditions of employment in the Defence Forces have traditionally been set by, inter alia, reference to relative levels of pay across the various sectors of the Irish public sector. 
The Working Family Payment (formerly the Family Income Supplement) provides a means to supplement a family’s income, be they employed in the public or private sector. Eligibili...

143. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans for pay restoration and restoration of allowances for Defence Forces members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15963/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.
Rates of pay and conditions of employment in the Defence Forces have traditionally been set by, inter alia, reference to relative levels of pay across the various sectors of the Irish public sector. 
The Working Family Payment (formerly the Family Income Supplement) provides a means to supplement a family’s income, be they employed in the public or private sector. Eligibili...

144. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of former PDF members in receipt of disability allowance as a result of injury sustained from their time served with the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15964/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Under the Army Pensions Acts 1923-1980 a disability pension or gratuity may, following retirement, be granted to a former member of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) for permanent disablement due to a wound or injury attributable to military service (whether at home or abroad) or to a disease attributable to, or aggravated by, overseas service with a United Nations Force.  The criteria for awarding a disability pension or gratui...

145. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the detail of the sale of all military equipment in each of the past five years; the type of equipment sold; the amount received; the date the sale occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15965/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. In this regard defensive equipment requirements for the Defence Forces are kept under constant review. As part of the equipment planning process a number of major...