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Statement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence

In response to The Article in the Examiner of 1 September 2012

“Shatter accused of hiding behind top brass on army jobs”

“The Article in the Examiner of 1 September 2012, “Shatter accused of hiding behind top brass on army jobs”, proceeds from a complete misunderstanding of the situation.

The statement that the re-organisation of the Defence Forces will see its "numbers slashed from 11,500 to 9,500 by 2015" is misleading and I would like to take this opportunity to outline the facts.

In 2000, the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) was reduced from 11,500 to 10,500 as part of the White Paper on Defence. Subsequently, in October 2010, the previous Government reduced the strength ceiling of the PDF to 10,000 personnel.

In March 2011, when the current Government came into office, the actual number serving in the PDF was 9,582 personnel. Arising from the Comprehensive Review of expenditure, the current Government decided to stabilise the strength of the PDF at 9,500 personnel. Accordingly the PDF is being re-organised to ensure that the Permanent Defence Force can operate efficiently and effectively within the strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel.

The process put in place to implement the reorganisation of the Defence Forces is being overseen by an Implementation Board which includes both civil and military management. The number of personnel who may be required to move to a new location will become known as implementation progresses. My correspondence to which Deputy McGrath makes reference makes perfectly clear that, the reorganisation will be implemented in a manner which best addresses the future organisational needs and capability requirements of the Defence Forces while facilitating as far as possible the circumstances of individual members”.

Insofar as is practicable, serving members whose units are being moved will have the opportunity to either move with their unit or to take up new appointments within their existing locations. In addition, opportunities for training, career progression and promotion will continue to be available within the reorganised structure for the Defence Forces. While every effort will be made to accommodate members of the Defence Forces, inevitably, some personnel will have to change location in order to fill appointments in the new organisation. ”


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