88. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the number of females within the Defence Forces who were promoted in 2014 and to date in 2015, by rank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20878/15 asked on 27 May 2015)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. Unlike many other national armed forces, the Defence Forces have no restrictions as regards the assignment of men or women to the full range of operational and administrative duties. All promotions and career courses are open on the basis of competence and capabilities and are not gender based.

The Defence Forces prides itself on providing a gender neutral working environment. Policies on equality are being constantly communicated to all ranks. The Military Authorities are alert and vigilant to this issue and are committed to addressing this matter in a continuing and proactive manner.

The number of females promoted across all ranks in the Permanent Defence Force from 1 January 2014 to date is 55 and in the Reserve Defence Force the number is 14.