Dáil Éireann - Volume 655 - 22 May, 2008
Written Answers. - Defence Forces Reserve.
Deputy Ruairí Quinn Deputy Ruairí Quinn
Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Defence the progress made in regard to the commitment given in the programme for Government to fully execute the Reserve Defence Forces implementation plan by the 2009 target. [20170/08]
Deputy Willie O’Dea Deputy Willie O’Dea
Deputy Willie O’Dea: The White Paper on Defence 2000 outlines the blueprint for the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). The Reserve Defence Force Review Implementation Plan provides for the phased enhancement of Reserve capabilities over the  period to the end of 2009. Revised organisation structures came into effect in October 2005. The Reserve has been re-organised along similar lines to the PDF with three brigades, a Reserve Defence Force Training Authority and a dedicated Naval Service Reserve. Improvements in clothing, equipment and training have been delivered. These factors were identified as being important issues for members of the Reserve, as well as being necessary to improve the overall capability of the Reserve.
In addition, the Plan provides for the development of an Integrated Army Reserve. A pilot scheme for the Integrated Reserve was run in 2007 and while numbers participating were small (180 completed training), very valuable lessons were learned. The Integrated Reserve will continue to be developed in 2008 in the light of experience gained in 2007. In line with the Implementation plan timeframe, recommendations with respect to the First Line Reserve are to be brought forward during phase 2. Development of the First Line Reserve is also included in the Modernisation Agenda agreed with the Defence Forces Representative Associations in the context of Towards 2016 and will be advanced accordingly.
While there are no plans for participation by members of the Reserve in overseas missions in the current year, it is hoped that a small number of Reservists may be available to serve overseas by the end of next year (2009). This is likely to be in specialised areas such as medical, transport, engineering and communications and information services. This will also be subject to personnel having suitable qualifications, their personal availability and appropriate training. In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, a publicity and awareness campaign to promote recruitment to the RDF is being prepared and will be carried out later in the year.
Dáil Éireann 655 Written Answers. Defence Forces Reserve.