For Oral Answer on : 12/05/2022
Question Number(s): 53 Question Reference(s): 22886/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence the number of enlisted personnel in the Defence Forces who are from ethnic minority backgrounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Within the Defence Forces Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Statement and Action Plan, the Defence Forces recognises the need to ensure that the societal changes being witnessed in Ireland would also be reflected in the Defence organisation. The Strategy has clear focus on promoting respect for diversity and recognising the strength that inclusion can bring to the organisation.
However, I have been advised by the Military Authorities that they do not collect details pertaining to ethnicity.
The Defence Forces Gender Equality & Diversity (GED) Advisor has developed extensive working relationships with Public Sector agencies and NGOs on issues relating to gender equality and sits on the Oversight Group for Ireland’s third National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Networks and contacts have also been established which facilitate the sharing of best practice across Public and NGO Sector including, An Garda Síochána. These outward facing activities and engagement are in addition to the internal working groups and policy initiatives relating to recruitment and retention.
Building relationships with religious, cultural and ethnic groups was identified as an action point in the Defence Forces Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Statement and Action Plan and ensuring different religious and cultural beliefs are respected. The Defence Forces has conducted initial outreach to cultural or ethnic groups in order to examine any barriers to enlistment and how they might be addressed.
Finally, as the Deputy will be aware, the recently published Report from the Commission on the Defence Forces has contained a number of recommendations relating to diversity in the Defence Forces. These recommendations are currently under deliberation.