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)

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 that recruitment and promotions will continue in order to fill rank vacancies.

Targeted recruitment will continue to ensure that the Permanent Defence Force can continue to deliver all operational outputs required by government both at home and overseas. Recent 2018 Cadetship and General Service recruitment competitions have just closed and it is anticipated that 800 new entrants will be inducted to the Defence Forces across all services and competition streams in 2018.

Rank 9,500 Rank Establishment Strength at 31 March 2018 Vacancies by Rank
Lieutenant General 1 1 0
Major General 2 2 0
Brigadier General 8 8 0
Colonel 39 38 1
Lieutenant Colonel 139 131 8
Commandant 336 329 7
Captain 452 365 87
Lieutenant 256 239 17
Sergeant Major 43 39 4
BQMS 43 43 0
CS/FS/BS 246 230 16
CQMS/FQMS 198 178 20
Sergeant 1,330 1,028 302
Corporal 1,801 1,589 212
Private 4,606 4,636 -30
Cadets Not applicable 137 Not applicable
Total 9,500 8993 644

**Additionally there are 73 personnel on career breaks and 3 personnel on secondment who are not included in the strengths in the above table.