For Oral Answer on : 16/05/2023
Question Number(s): 37 Question Reference(s): 22806/23
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 115 of 6 October 2022, if he will provide an update on his Department’s engagement with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the issue of employment protection for Reserve Defence Force members engaged in voluntary military service in support of the Permanent Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Defence (Amendment) Act 2021 serves to update the Defence Legislation on the use of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) on a voluntary basis, on-island and overseas, in support of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and where it is in the best interests of the PDF. In light of RDF members being deployed on a voluntary basis, it is necessary to consider preparation of employment protection measures. In this regard, I wish to advise the Deputy that engagement has taken place by my officials with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). Further meetings will be scheduled in the near future.
The contribution from officials in DETE on this matter has been both informative and welcome. With their continued assistance, engagement has also commenced between my officials and both employer and employee bodies on this matter.
Information around practical and operational matters being prepared by the military authorities will be particularly relevant in terms of follow-on engagement with DETE and the employer and employee bodies. While there is a suggestion that legislation to underpin employment protection is preferable, the intention at this stage is to develop a Code of Practice with regard to employment protection measures, in consultation with all stakeholders.
I would also advise the Deputy that there is ongoing engagement by officials and the military authorities on an informal basis, with RDFRA, the Representative Association representing the RDF, on a range matters relating to their members, including the practical and operational matters associated with the deployment of the RDF on a voluntary basis, in support of the PDF.