Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 17 November, 2004
Written Answers. - Defence Forces Promotions.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
83. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Defence if he has plans to relax the rule whereby soldiers failing to win promotion above the rank of private after service of 12 years are let go by the Army; if his attention has been drawn to calls from PDFORRA for this rule to be relaxed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28826/04]
Mr. O’Dea Mr. O’Dea
Mr. O’Dea: The unsatisfactory age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was commented upon by the Gleeson commission in its report in 1990. The matter had also been of serious concern to the military authorities for a number of years. The age profile was also the subject of severe criticism by PriceWaterhouse Consultants which had been engaged by the efficiency audit group, EAG, to conduct an in-depth study of the Defence Forces. One of the key areas identified for urgent action by the EAG was the development of a manpower policy with an emphasis on lowering the age profile of Permanent Defence Force personnel. The EAG’s report was accepted by Government in 1995.
In an effort to alleviate the situation, the Government had already decided in 1993 to enlist personnel on a five year contract basis with a Reserve Force commitment of seven years. The recruitment of personnel on five year contracts was introduced following consultation with the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, PDFORRA.
In 1997 agreement was reached with PDFORRA on a new manpower policy for the Defence Forces. This policy, applying to personnel enlisted after 1 January 1994, provided that service for private soldiers would initially be for five years with the option to be extended to a maximum of 12 years. Any extension was subject to the individual soldier meeting certain criteria to include standards of medical and physical fitness and conduct. Longer periods of service were envisaged for junior and senior non-commissioned officers. The new policy represented a  substantial improvement for personnel who would otherwise have had to leave after five years service while continuing to address the issues of age profile and fitness levels in the Defence Forces. I am satisfied with these existing arrangements.
PDFORRA has submitted a claim under the conciliation and arbitration scheme for a further review of the terms of service applying to personnel enlisting in the Permanent Defence Force after 1 January 1994. As discussions on issues raised under the scheme are confidential to the parties concerned, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.
Dáil Éireann 592 Written Answers. Defence Forces Promotions.