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 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Priority Questions
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

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  2 o’clock

Ceisteanna - Questions

Priority Questions

Defence Forces Personnel

 125. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to review the 21 year limit for those members of the Defence Forces who remain fit and able, who are in good health and who are well capable of continuing to serve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13940/14]

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Question No. 1 deals with an issue raised here previously with the Minister. It asks if he will again review the position of those soldiers serving as members of the Permanent Defence Force with 21 year contracts, many of whom are coming to a point at which their 21 years will have been served. If the Minister persists with his insistence that they retire, it will have profound implications for them.

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The unsatisfactory age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was an issue of serious concern during the 1990s and the subject of severe criticism in a series of external reports, mainly Price Waterhouse Consultants and the Efficiency Audit Group, EAG. 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 the 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, following consultation with PDFORRA, Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association. 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 of extending it to a maximum of 12 years, subject to meeting standards of medical and physical fitness and conduct. Longer periods of service were envisaged for non-commissioned officers.

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.


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