Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 22 April, 1998

Written Answers. - Search and Rescue Crews.

41. Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to ensure that search and rescue crews have the technical status and a promotional structure that will recognise and reward their operational expertise and level of responsibility thus ensuring appropriate levels of staffing for search and rescue. [9076/98]

Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): Under the Defence (Amendment) Act 1990, matters relating to pay and allowances come within the scope of representation of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) and may be processed through the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for the Permanent Defence Force which was established in agreement with the associations. The question of the payment of technician pay to non-commissioned personnel of the Air Corps engaged on search and rescue duties has been raised by PDFORRA under the terms of the conciliation and arbitration scheme. Under the terms of the scheme, as agreed with the association, discussions on claims which are being processed are confidential and you will appreciate, therefore, that it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.

A study into the Air Corps carried out by Price Waterhouse Management Consultants is at present under consideration. I believe that the report resulting from this study will produce a definitive blueprint for the development of a promotional structure that would recognise and reward the operational expertise and level of responsibility of personnel engaged on search and rescue duties.