For Oral Answer on : 24/11/2022
Question Number(s): 27 Question Reference(s): 57629/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
* To ask the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 361 of 11 October 2022, when he expects the next recruitment campaign for the Reserve Defence Forces to open; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton T.D.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 24 November, 2022.
The Government remains committed to the advancement of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). Indeed, the White Paper on Defence has fully acknowledged that there is a clear need to retain and develop the Reserve.
The Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces (CODF), published last February, serves to reinforce that commitment and as the Deputy will be aware, that Report contains many recommendations on the future role and structure of the RDF.
A Civil/Military Implementation Management Office has now been established to support the implementation of the overall programme, initially focusing on some 38 Early Actions to be completed within six months of the Government decision as set out in the High Level Action Plan. Two such actions relate to the RDF, namely the establishment of the Office of Reserve Affairs, and the development of a Regeneration Plan for the Reserve.
It is clear that both of these early action plans are directly linked and that the establishment of the Office of Reserve Affairs or (ORA), will be an essential first step in tackling the revitalisation of the Reserve Defence Force.
Planning by the military authorities, in collaboration with my officials, has commenced on establishing the ORA and once this is established, it will be actively involved in implementing the accepted recommendations of the CoDF which will serve to create a reserve force that can seamlessly train, operate and deploy with the Permanent Defence Force, nationally and internationally.
This process will also take into consideration, of course, the other recommendations relating to the structure and strength of the RDF, which include that the future establishment of the RDF should be increased and should include, at a minimum, an Air Force Reserve of 200 and a Navy Reserve of 400.
The Deputy may also be aware that a recruitment drive for the RDF was launched this year on 21 March 2022, which was advertised across a number of media channels. Recruit Liaison Officers across the RDF conducted local recruitment to attract applicants for this campaign.
I am advised that over 1000 applications were received during this window, which is very encouraging.
To date, 88 RDF recruits have been inducted into the Defence Forces and the processing of eligible applicants is continuing. The military authorities have advised me that once this body of work is completed, consideration will be given to the launch of a further recruitment campaign in mid 2023.
I would like to assure the Deputy that it is my intention, and that of the Chief of Staff, to ensure that the momentum behind the regeneration of the RDF will be maintained throughout 2023 and the coming years.