For Oral Answer on : 28/06/2022
Question Number(s): 118 Question Reference(s): 34044/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence the number of recruits who have enlisted in the Reserve Defence Forces in 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government remains absolutely committed to the advancement of the RDF. The White Paper on Defence is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF and confirms that its primary role is to augment the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in crisis situations.
While the commitment to restoring the strength of the RDF is not in doubt, the same personnel and resources are utilised for both PDF and RDF recruitment. Given the competing recruitment demands at present, PDF recruitment is, and will remain a priority. However, RDF recruitment will continue to be progressed to the greatest extent possible.
I should add that the ability to conduct RDF inductions during 2021 was severely impacted by the COVID-19 public health pandemic. Nevertheless, 41 new members were inducted during 2021. A recruitment drive for the RDF was launched earlier this year and, as at 22 June, 37 additional new members have been inducted thus far in 2022.
The Deputy will be aware that the Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces, published last January, contains many detailed recommendations, including on the future structure and role of the RDF.
The process to consider the full set of recommendations in the Report, in consultation with Ministerial colleagues and stakeholders is amost completed and I intend, before the Summer recess, , to bring to Government, significant proposals encompassed in a high-level action plan.