For Written Answer on : 11/10/2022
Question Number(s): 361 Question Reference(s): 50053/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence the current state of affairs with respect to recruitment in the Reserve Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I am very cognisant of the fact that the RDF strength level remains lower than the Establishment figure. However, I am aware of the many initiatives in place to recruit individuals to the Reserve.
While the commitment to restoring the strength of the RDF is not in doubt, given the competing recruitment demands at present, PDF recruitment is and should remain a priority. I would add also that the same personnel and resources are utilised for both PDF and RDF recruitment. Nonetheless, RDF recruitment will continue to be progressed to the greatest extent possible.
Supports currently provided to maximise RDF recruitment include use of social media, promotion through the DF Press Office, outreach activities by RDF members, and the use of Permanent Defence Force (PDF) exit interviews, which contain information on applying to the RDF.
A RDF recruitment campaign was opened, for online applications, on 21 March 2022 and was closed on 28 July 2022. Over 1000 applications were received during this window and a number of eligible applicants are undergoing recruitment processing. On completion of all processing and assessments, successful applicants will be inducted into the RDF for recruit training.
To date 70 RDF recruits have been inducted into the Defence Forces from this recruitment campaign.
In July this year, Government approval was given for a move to ‘Level of Ambition 2’ (LOA2), as set out in the capability framework devised by the Commission on the Defence Forces. This will result in the Defence budget rising from €1.1 billion to €1.5 billion, in 2022 prices, by 2028, the largest increase in Defence funding in the history of the State.
Some specific initiatives include the establishment of an Office of Reserve Affairs with the priority objective of developing a regeneration plan for the Reserve Defence Force. In this context, a High Level Action Plan (HLAP) was approved and will give the underpinning for these actions to be progressed.
I wish to assure the Deputy that that the Government remains fully committed to the advancement of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF).