59. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of vacancies in the Air Corps, by role, in 2016 and to date in 2017; the length of time required to fill each role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7102/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The serving strength of the Air Corps as at 31 December, 2016 was 704 personnel (whole time equivalent). The overall establishment figure for the Air Corps (as set out in Defence Forces Regulations CS4) is 887.

Due to the complexity of the task and the resources required, it is not possible to provide a complete breakdown of vacancies for all roles in the Air Corps for a specific given period of time. The following table is a breakdown of some of the more technical, aviation related current job vacancies. However, it is important to note that these vacancies do not include those on long term detachment to other parts of the organisation and that this is not an exhaustive list of all vacant positions in the Air Corps. The vacancies not accounted for in the table are across all ranks. These vacancies are in appointments pertaining to a variety of different support roles such as administration and ground support services.

ROLE ESTABLISHMENT CURRENT VACANCIES
Pilots (Officers) 107 26
Aero Engineers (Officers) 18 1
Air Traffic Controllers (Officers) (Non-Commissioned Officers) 8 11 4 4
Aircraft Technicians (Non-Commissioned Officers) Airmen / Airwomen 187 134 28 69
TOTALS 321 132

In terms of the filling of Air Corps Non-Commissioned Officer vacancies, the 2017 NCO Promotion Competition commenced with effect from 8th February 2017. It is envisaged that as a result of this promotion competition, suitably qualified personnel will fill appropriate vacancies that currently exist.

Currently any Air Corps Officer vacancies that exist are as a result of personnel not being qualified in accordance with Defence Force Regulations. Where vacancies exist and personnel are qualified, the Military Authorities make every effort to ensure that the expedient promotion of such personnel occurs.

Due to the complexity of the task and the variances in qualifications needed to fill differing positions in the Air Corps, it is not possible to provide an estimate of the length of time required to fill every vacant position.