633. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there will be a general service recruitment campaign for the Air Corps launched before the year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43911/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government is committed to maintaining the establishment 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 requirements of the Permanent Defence Force are monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of the three services. Personnel are posted on the basis of operational need across the organisation both at home and abroad. As there is a significant turnover of personnel in the Defence Forces, targeted recruitment takes place on a regular basis so as to maintain personnel numbers at or near the agreed strength levels.

The Defence Forces do not run a general service campaign specifically for the Air Corps. The Air Corps induct personnel through a series of competitions including Cadetships, Air Corps Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians and through transfer of personnel from general service in the Army.  In this regard, 12 General Service Recruits enlisted in March 2017, have passed their training, and will now be posted to units in the Air Corps.  A further 11 general service recruits enlisted in October 2017 have commenced basic training alongside the Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians inducted in the same month.  It is expected that these recruits will also be assigned to Air Corps units on completion of their training.

On 13 March 2017, a class of 11 Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians began their training. This was augmented by an additional 11 Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians who joined in October 2017. 

With the support of the Chief of Staff, it is intended to continue to recruit new personnel in order to ensure that the Defence Forces retain the capacity to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government, both at home and overseas.