684. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a recruitment drive for the Air Corps will occur in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31065/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the stabilised strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service personnel, as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence.

The Air Corps (Pilot Officer) Cadetship competition was launched at the end of March 2017. There are currently 3 Cadet Classes, comprising 26 personnel, at various stages of their Pilot Officer ‘Wings Course’. 6 Cadets of the Senior Cadet Class are due to be commissioned as Pilot Officers in Q4 of 2017.

On 13 March 2017, a class of 11 new Apprentice Technicians began their training, who, along with 12 General Service Recruits in training, will be assigned to the Air Corps on completion of their training.

It is my intention that targeted recruitment will continue to be carried out for the Air Corps, Army and Naval Service.