Dáil Éireann - Volume 498 - 09 December, 1998

Written Answers. - Army Bands.

30. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to initiate separate recruitment in view of the shortage of numbers in the Army bands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17899/98]

31. Mr. Enright asked the Minister for Defence the number of Army bands he is committed to; [466] the numbers in each band; and the way in which he will deal with the shortages. [26781/98]

36. Mr. Dukes asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to initiate separate recruitment in view of the shortage of numbers in the Army bands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17901/98]

57. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to initiate separate recruitment in view of the shortage of numbers in the Army bands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23002/98]

65. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the position of the Army bands; the number of members in the bands; if recruitment is continuing for band members; if there is a programme for re-organisation in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26826/98]

95. Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to initiate separate recruitment in view of the shortage of numbers in the Army bands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17902/98]

155. Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Defence the number of Army bands he is committed to; the numbers in each band; and the way in which he will deal with the shortages. [26942/98]

Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): I propose to take Questions Nos. 30, 31, 36, 57, 65, 95 and 155 together.

Recruitment to the Army School of Music is currently under review in the light of recommendations of the Defence Forces review implementation plan for the overall reduction in the strength of the Defence Forces.

The current strength of each of the Army bands is as follows. The Army No. 1 band has 35 playing members and the band of the Southern Brigade has 30, the Western Brigade band has 29 instrumentalists and the Defence Forces training centre band has 27 playing members. Proposals for the recruitment of a limited number of instrumentalists have been made recently by the military authorities and these proposals are at present under consideration.