52. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he is taking to address the personnel gaps in the Defence Forces; the areas in which these gaps are most acute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52732/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: From the most recent figures available, the strength of the Permanent Defence Force is currently 9,219 personnel, or 97% of the establishment of 9,500 personnel. To return to and maintain the agreed strength levels, significant targeted recruitment has taken place in 2017 which resulted to date in 702 personnel being inducted, comprising general service recruits, cadets and specialists for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. Similar recruitment campaigns are being planned...

1388. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the necessary funding will be provided to replace the roofing of the equitation stables at McKee barracks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46957/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Equitation School complex located at McKee Barracks consists of three large and two small blocks, which are used for the stabling of horses. As part of the ongoing Defence Forces Built Infrastructure capital programme the need for remedial works to these buildings was identified. The works include the replacement of the roof coverings, gutters and ceilings, repairs to timber, and repairs to brickwork in the external walls....

433. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the nomination of the chief of staff of the Defence Forces to the position of chair of the European Union Military Committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44596/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - European Union Military Committee)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following last month’s approval by the Government, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces was formally nominated on behalf of the Irish Government for election to the position of Chair of the European Union Military Committee (C/EUMC). The position of Chair of the EUMC will become vacant in November 2018 and Ireland’s nominee, Vice Admiral Mellett will line up for election alongside candidates from...

439. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount of funding necessary to replace or upgrade aircraft within the Air Corps; if new aircraft will be purchased in 2018; the number of aircraft deployed with the Air Corps; the age of each aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44993/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime o...

633. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there will be a general service recruitment campaign for the Air Corps launched before the year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43911/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Air Corps Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the establishment of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence.
The manpower requirements of the Permanent Defence Force are monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of the three services. Personnel are posted on the basis of operationa...

50. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when there will be full pay restoration for all members of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26043/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 44, 50 and 59 together. 
Rates of remuneration and conditions of employment in each part of the Irish public sector have traditionally been set by reference to levels of pay available in related public sector employments. 
The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts of 2009-2015 and the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2018 (the Lansdowne Road Agreement) define current pa...

684. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a recruitment drive for the Air Corps will occur in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31065/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Air Corps Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service personnel, as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence.
The Air Corps (Pilot Officer) Cadetship competition was launched at the end of March 2017. There are currently 3 Cadet Classes, comprising 26 personnel, at various stages of their Pilot Officer ‘Wings C...

680. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he is taking to provide members of the Defence Forces the right to join a trade union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22000/17 asked on 09 May 2017 - Defence Forces Representative Organisations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Under the terms of the Defence (Amendment) Act, 1990 the Defence Forces Representative Associations are prohibited from being associated with, or affiliated to any trade unions, or any other body. Accordingly, the Representative Associations cannot be affiliated to ICTU. The basis for the prohibition is that it would be inappropriate to apply the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 to members of the Defence Forces...

1468. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the Casa Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Casa CN235, was not dispatched when top cover was originally requested on the night of 13 March 2017 which led to the Rescue 116 helicopter being dispatched in its place; the change in circumstances which allowed CN235 to be dispatched later that same night in view of the earlier unavailability of the Air Corps rescue service; the investigations his department is making into the matter; when the findings of such an investigation will be reported to Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19827/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Air Corps Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Irish Coast Guard, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, has overall responsibility for the provision of Search and Rescue services within the Irish search and rescue region. The Coast Guard search and rescue services can request the support of the Air Corps on an ‘as available’ basis under a Service Level Agreement between the Department of Defence and the Department of Transport...

658. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when additional air traffic controllers and Air Corps pilots will be recruited for Baldonnel Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8430/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Currently in the Air Corps there are 28 cadets, in 3 classes, undergoing the various stages of the Air Corps cadetship to become pilots. There are currently 8 Air Corps cadets in the final stages of their training with commissioning of these cadets likely to take place in Quarter 4 of this year. In addition, a Cadet Recruitment campaign is due to commence in the coming weeks, with a view to the commencement...

659. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacancies currently in the Naval Service; his plans to expand the service up to 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8431/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Naval Service Staff)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The numerical establishment of the Naval Service is 1,094 personnel. As of the 17th February, 2017, the strength figure stood at 1,056. Plans are in place to run new General Service and Cadet recruitment competitions in the coming weeks. The recruits from these competitions will help fill current vacancies and help reach the overall establishment figure of 9,500 personnel for the combined elements of the D...

59. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacancies in the Air Corps, by role, in 2016 and to date in 2017; the length of time required to fill each role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7102/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The serving strength of the Air Corps as at 31 December, 2016 was 704 personnel (whole time equivalent). The overall establishment figure for the Air Corps (as set out in Defence Forces Regulations CS4) is 887.
Due to the complexity of the task and the resources required, it is not possible to provide a complete breakdown of vacancies for all roles in the Air Corps for a specific given period of time. The following table is a ...

72. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the progress made with filling personnel vacancies in the Air Corps which are urgently required for the transport service for transplant patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7101/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The HSE’s Aeromedical Desk in its National Emergency Operations Centre is responsible for the co-ordination of transport arrangements for paediatric organ transplant transfers to the UK. Air transport for these patients is currently provided in three ways: Air Corps fixed-wing and rotor-wing aircraft; Irish Coast Guard rotor-wing aircraft; and private air ambulance providers.
As one of the components of the Defence Forces, the ...