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 ...

72. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacancies at each rank in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19311/18 asked on 02 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, at 31 March 2018, the latest date for which figures are available, was 8,993 (Whole Time Equivalent) comprising 7,229 Army, 717 Air Corps and 1,047 Naval Service Personnel. The attached table outlines the total vacancies by rank, based on the agreed establishment for the Permanent Defence Force of 9,500. In this context, it is my intention...

74. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the most up-to-date figures for the strength of the Permanent Defence Forces with regard to all three services and all ranks; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14697/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 76 together.
As of the 28th February, 2018 (the latest date for which figures are available), the whole time equivalent strength of the Permanent Defence Force, across all three services and ranks, broken down by gender was as follows: -
 Service Total Personnel Female Personnel Army 7,281 490 Naval Service 1,046 68 Air Corps 730 33 Total 9,057 591 

To return t...

76. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of additional recruits the Permanent Defence Forces have taken on to date in 2018 with regard to all three services; the gender breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14699/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 76 together.
As of the 28th February, 2018 (the latest date for which figures are available), the whole time equivalent strength of the Permanent Defence Force, across all three services and ranks, broken down by gender was as follows: -
 Service Total Personnel Female Personnel Army 7,281 490 Naval Service 1,046 68 Air Corps 730 33 Total 9,057 591 

To return t...

167. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which membership of the local Defence Forces continues to be maintained at a required level; the extent to which ongoing training standards and requirements are met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13116/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The White Paper on Defence provides for a combined establishment of 4,169 personnel for the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve (inclusive of the proposal to increase the Naval Service Reserve establishment from 200 to 300 personnel). I am aware of the shortfall between this figure and the current combined strength of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve which, as of 31 January 2018, is 1,777 effective personnel. Howe...

5. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to address matters raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12000/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): 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 Defence Forces have always had a level of turnover that far exceeds other areas of the public service. I am advised that 1,902 personnel left the Defence Forces in the 3 year period from 2015-2017, inclusive.  This includes 459 personnel who did not complete...

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the strength of the Defence Forces, including Reserves, Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; the number of women in each branch of the services; the likelihood of recruitment following retirements now and over the next ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10725/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table:
    Males (WTE)  Females (WTE) Total  Army   6,870 482   7,352 Air Corps  700  35  735 Naval Service  981  70  1,052 Army Reserve  1,421* 232*  1,653 Naval Service Reserve  103*  21*  124 

WTE - Whole Time Equivalent
* - Effective Personnel
The 2015 White Paper on Defence commits to maintaining the strength of the PDF at 9,500 per...

33. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the Defence Forces are adequately equipped to deal with emergencies in respect of which they might be called upon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10728/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 34, 37, 38 and 40 together.
My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning by both the ...

34. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the Defences Forces can be mobilised in the event of natural disasters, including flooding, in view of the need for early deployment and use of specified equipment in such situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10729/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 34, 37, 38 and 40 together.
My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning by both the ...

37. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if deficiencies in the Defence Forces will be augmented in the context of a terrorist attack; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10732/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 34, 37, 38 and 40 together.
My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning by both the ...

38. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he is confident that facilities such as advanced training, state-of-the-art technology and specific military equipment is available throughout the Defence Forces with a view to ensuring a competence to deal with national or international security incidents; if he remains satisfied that the Defence Forces have adequate liaison with other defence forces throughout Europe in the context of a potential threat to national security; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10733/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 34, 37, 38 and 40 together.
My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning by both the ...

40. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which specialist skills in dealing with security threats remain available to the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10735/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 34, 37, 38 and 40 together.
My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Defence Forces is maintained to the greatest extent possible to enable the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to carry out their roles as assigned by Government. 
At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning by both the ...

108. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated cost of expanding the strength of the Defence Forces to 10,500 personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8265/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The White Paper on Defence (2015) sets out Government policy on Defence for the next decade. It commits to retaining flexible and adaptable defence capabilities for a broad range of scenarios and sets out capability requirements including personnel and equipment in this regard. In this context, it is important that an appropriate balance is maintained between personnel costs and equipment investment.
In December 2011, the Govern...

27. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the measures he plans to take to ensure personnel are recruited and retained in all grades of the Defence Forces in view of the prevalence of low pay, poor conditions and the numbers qualifying for FIS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3369/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service.
There has always been a relatively large turnover of personnel in the Defence Forces and there is significant ongoing recruitment at both enlisted and officer level. During 2017, 751 new personnel were inducted into the Permanent Defence Force.  As of end Dece...

53. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he remains satisfied at the strength of all branches of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3673/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, as set out in the White Paper on Defence.
To achieve this, there is significant on-going recruitment. In 2017 some 751 new personnel were inducted into the Permanent Defence Force, comprising of General Service Recruits, Cadets and specialists for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. As of the 31st of December 2017, the s...

44. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces units in which the establishment strength in station for officers is running at less than 50% for November 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52899/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Lisa Chambers: My question is on numbers in respect of the establishment strength in station for officers where they are running at less than 50%.
 ...

49. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which the strength of the Defence Forces continues to be maintained and-or increased; the degree to which gender balance continues to be observed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52919/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: My question relates to the current and expected strength of the Defence Forces in all grades of the Army, Naval Service and the Air Corps, and the degree to which the gender balance continues to be maintained.
 ...

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...

67. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to bring forward new measures to bolster the retention of serving members of the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52896/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is, understandably, a relatively high turnover of personnel in the Defence Forces on an annual basis. A certain level of turnover is desirable as a human resource and organisational objective, in order to maintain an appropriate age profile across the Defence Forces and to retain an approach to regular revitalisation. However, it is also important to ensure that tur...

77. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the numbers to date serving in the Permanent Defence Forces; the expected recruitment level in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52974/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): From the most recent figures available (as of 31 October 2017), the strength of the Permanent Defence Force stood at 9,219 whole time equivalent (WTE) personnel, broken down as follows: - Army: 7,417
- Air Corps: 744
- Naval Service: 1,058 
While I acknowledge there a gap between these figures and the establishment figure of 9,500, the Government remains dedicated to returning to, and maintaining the establishment strength of ...

569. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the strength of the Defence Forces having particular regard to a recent indication of difficulty in retaining optimum strength; the extent to which specific issues have arisen; his plans for a resolution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53181/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 569, 570, 572 and 573 together. 
I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 31 October 2017 was 9,219 whole time equivalent (WTE) personnel, comprising 7,417 Army, 744 Air Corps and 1,058 Naval Service.
The table below outlines the establishment, strength (WTE) and vacancies of the Permanent Defence Force, by Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as a...

570. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he has addressed or plans to address concerns regarding the need to retain the strength of the Defence Forces with particular reference to the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53182/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 569, 570, 572 and 573 together. 
I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 31 October 2017 was 9,219 whole time equivalent (WTE) personnel, comprising 7,417 Army, 744 Air Corps and 1,058 Naval Service.
The table below outlines the establishment, strength (WTE) and vacancies of the Permanent Defence Force, by Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as a...

572. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of positions to be filled at all ranks in the Defence Forces, Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53184/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 569, 570, 572 and 573 together. 
I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 31 October 2017 was 9,219 whole time equivalent (WTE) personnel, comprising 7,417 Army, 744 Air Corps and 1,058 Naval Service.
The table below outlines the establishment, strength (WTE) and vacancies of the Permanent Defence Force, by Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as a...

573. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he has taken or plans to take to address concerns regarding the retention of the strength of the Defence Forces; if specific issues in this regard have been identified in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps; if he has a specific plan in respect of these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53185/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 569, 570, 572 and 573 together. 
I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 31 October 2017 was 9,219 whole time equivalent (WTE) personnel, comprising 7,417 Army, 744 Air Corps and 1,058 Naval Service.
The table below outlines the establishment, strength (WTE) and vacancies of the Permanent Defence Force, by Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as a...