448. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the cost of increasing the number of personnel in the Naval Service Reserve from 141 to 1,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1444/16 asked on 13 Jan 2016)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 447 and 448 together.

The recently published White Paper on Defence sets out a developmental path for the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). It provides that the overall establishment of the Army Reserve (AR) and the Naval Service Reserve (NSR) be set at 4,169 personnel, consisting of 3,869 Army Reservists and the expansion of the establishment of the four Naval Service Reserve Units from 200 to 300 personnel.

The current total strength for the Reserve Defence Force (as of 30 November, 2015, the latest date for which figures are available) was 2,323. Subhead A5 provides for a budget of €2.15 million in 2016, of which €2.068 million encompasses Paid Training. The budget is sufficient having regard to the existing strength of the AR and NSR. A key challenge is to attract, recruit and train sufficient personnel to meet the establishment provided in the White Paper . Budget is not a constraint on achieving this establishment.

Indicative costs of meeting the Paid Training requirements for the numbers outlined in the questions are outlined in the table following:

Increase Additional Cost (approx)
Army Reserve from 2,188 to 3,000 € 0. 847 m
Naval Service Reserve from 141 to 1,000. € 0. 896 m

It should be noted that numbers beyond the establishment would require a reappraisal of organisational structures, levels and of the costs of PDF support required. There are no plans to increase the establishment strengths of the Reserve Defence Force beyond the targets set out in the White Paper on Defence.