933. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there will be a recruitment drive for the Air Corps later in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22366/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016)

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength 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 requirement of the Defence Forces is monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of each of the three services. As there is significant turnover of personnel in the Permanent Defence Force, targeted recruitment has been and is currently taking place so as to maintain the agreed strength levels.

A new General Service recruitment campaign for the Army was launched on 13 April 2016 and Air Corps General Service Recruits will be drawn from future panels as required. The Defence Forces plan to induct just over 600 general service personnel to the Permanent Defence Force in 2016 and a further 850 personnel in 2017.

Direct Entry Competitions are also held as required from which specialist appointments are filled. It is proposed to conduct a recruitment competition for 25 Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians in 2016.

The intake of Cadets into the Permanent Defence Force is normally carried out on an annual basis taking into consideration the operational requirements of the Defence Forces and the resource envelope allocated to Defence. The 2016 Cadetship campaign is currently underway and it is planned to induct at least (10) Cadets from this competition into the Air Corps.

With the support of the Chief of Staff and within the resources available, it is intended to retain the capacity of the Defence Forces to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government, both at home and overseas.