For Oral Answer on : 03/10/2023
Question Number(s): 85 Question Reference(s): 41036/23
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence the number of naval personnel who availed of the Naval Service seagoing commitment in 2021 and in 2022; the total amount drawn down in each of these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
A Naval Service Sea-going Service Commitment Scheme was introduced with effect from 1 January 2021. It was targeted at retaining and incentivising experienced and trained Naval Service personnel to undertake sea-going duties.
It is one of a number of measures aimed at addressing retention issues in the Naval Service.
The scheme was re-launched in December 2022 with revised Terms and Conditions, namely, that the minimum service requirement had been reduced from three years’ service to one years’ service.
The 2022 scheme was open to Officers and Enlisted Personnel in the Naval Service who had commenced or were undertaking sea-going duties in the period 1 January 2022 to 31 January 2022.
Under the terms of the schemes, participants are required to give an undertaking;
- to serve for an aggregate of 24 months at sea and undertake a minimum number of 240 patrol days during the sea-going periods, over a maximum 48 month reference period;
- undertake a minimum of 60 patrol days in each 6 month sea-going period to qualify for staged payments.
The payment for the entire service commitment is €10,000, comprising of 4 stage payments of €2,500.
A total of 103 applications to join the 2021 scheme were approved and to-date, I have approved an additional 38 applications to join the 2022 scheme.
Stage payments to the value of €170,000 were paid out during 2021. The figure for 2022 was €265,000.
In addition to the Service Commitment scheme, Naval Service personnel receive Patrol Duty Allowance for each day at sea. A Naval Service Tax credit is also available to sea going Naval Service personnel who meet certain criteria.
In line with the recommendation in the Commission on the Defence Forces, I am seeking to replace the existing sea-going allowances with less complex sea-going duty measures, which I believe will provide greater clarity on the overall incentive package available. This action is actively being progressed with the DPENDPR.
While the challenges facing the Naval Service and the wider organisation are well documented, it is clear that the serving members are fully committed to their role as has demonstrated in the recent detention of the cargo vessel MV Matthew this week.