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For Oral Answer on : 21/03/2024
Question Number(s): 27 Question Reference(s): 13044/24
Department: Defence
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence if he has given further consideration to the use of aptitude tests  as part of the recruitment process for the Defence Forces; the number who applied to enlist in the Defence Forces in 2022 and 2023, respectively and to date in 2024; the number of applicants who failed the application process in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The conditions for entry to and service in the Permanent Defence Force are subject to review, having regard to the needs of the organisation, the development of best practices and the maximisation of potential avenues to increasing recruitment.

Since the introduction of psychometric testing for general service recruits, the military authorities have revised the approach to such testing a number of times. The Defence Forces also provide assistance to applicants, such as advising on how best to prepare for such testing, to optimise pass rates, and the test can be practiced on the Defence Forces website.

In respect of the Naval Service, the military authorities made a decision to pause psychometric testing for Naval Service General Service recruitment on a pilot basis, initially for 6 months and subsequently increased to 12 months, with effect from 9 June 2023, to enable the gathering of data to allow for analysis into the effect of this measure.

The military authorities have advised that in 2022, there were 8,043 applications to join the Defence Forces, 9,479 in 2023 and 1,413 as at 29 February 2024.  These applications resulted in 435 inductions in 2022, and 415 in 2023. There have been five inductions to date in 2024, with an anticipated intake of General Service recruits by the end of March 2024.

The reasons for high attrition rates within the recruitment process include a high percentage of applicants who submit their applications but do not engage with the process thereafter, or do not present at the various stages of the induction process. Additionally applicants can be ineligible, be unable to achieve security clearance, or fail at the various stages of the recruitment process.