Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 08 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Strength.

Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Defence the number of personnel of officer rank who enlisted under the short term contract scheme since 1994 currently serving in the Defence Forces. [37061/06]

  Mr. O’Dea: A total of fifty seven (57) officers were commissioned under short term contract since 1 January 1994. Of these, thirty four (34) are still serving in the Permanent Defence Force. Twenty three (23) of these officers are now serving “without limitation as to time” while eleven (11) remain on short term contract. There are no officers commissioned under short term contract in the Reserve Defence Force.

Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Defence the maximum service period for officer ranks enlisted since 1994, who are not promoted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37063/06]

  Mr. O’Dea: In 1997 agreement was reached with the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) on a new manpower policy for the Defence Forces. This policy, applying to personnel enlisted after 1 January 1994, [317] provided that service for Private Soldiers would initially be for five years with the option to be extended to a maximum of twelve years. Extensions from 5 to 9 years and from 9 to 12 years were subject to the individual soldier meeting certain criteria including standards of medical and physical fitness, conduct and courses attended or period of overseas service. In 2004 PDFORRA 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. Following detailed and prolonged discussion on this claim a set of criteria has been agreed. The criteria meet PDFORRA’s desire to provide longer careers in the Permanent Defence Force while continuing to address the Government’s previously stated objective of having an appropriate age profile to meet the challenges of a modern defence forces. The criteria require that any person re-engaging must be able to continue to operate at their current level both at home and overseas on an ongoing basis. Re-engagements will be subject to the individual soldier meeting specified criteria in regard to physical fitness, medical category, successful completion of military courses of instruction, service overseas and conduct ratings.

Following a ballot of all post 1994 personnel PDFORRA have advised that their members accepted the agreed criteria for re-engagement (after 12 years’ service) and continuance in service (after 21 years’ service). As a result personnel enlisted after 1 January 1994 may now serve beyond the current 12 year limit.

The maximum service periods for other ranks enlisted after 1 January 1994 are as follows:

Enlisted Personnel, in the rank of Corporal (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may not serve beyond 21 years service.

Enlisted Personnel, in the rank of Sergeant (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may be permitted to continue in service up to the age of fifty years and to the age of fifty-six in all higher ranks.