Wednesday, 6 December 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
78. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Defence the form the proposed review of criteria for enlistment in the Defence Forces will take; when it will be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28690/00]
82. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the action required of him or which has been taken by him in order to allow non-nationals to serve in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28052/00]
At present the military authorities have the authority to approve applicants for enlistment who are not Irish nationals. Each application is taken on its merits and examined on an individual basis before a decision is made.
The Defence Act (Part 41) states that for persons other than Irish citizens to be appointed as an officer of the Defence Forces, the special approval of the Minister must be sought. In this regard and provided that security clearance has been forthcoming and the military authorities are satisfied that the person is suitable to be an officer of the Defence Forces, I would recommend that such a person be commissioned to the Defence Forces.
Officials from my Department are working with the military authorities and with officials from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and other interested parties to review the current criteria in relation to enlistment.
79. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the fact that for the 2000 Cadetship Programme only 5.9% of the total applicants were found suitable; and if he achieved the full complement of cadets in the recruitment programme. [28628/00]
Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): This year's cadet competition was expected to result in the recruitment of up to 60 cadets for the Defence Forces. Ultimately, 50 cadets accepted cadetship offers and were enlisted in the Permanent Defence Force.
Significant features of this year's competition, were the number of candidates who were found suitable at final interview but who failed to attain the required educational qualifications, and the number of candidates found unsuitable at final interview stage.
In the present buoyant economic climate, I am satisfied that 50 of the 60 places on offer were successfully filled. It is essential that the Defence Forces maintain the high standards demanded of cadet candidates and this requirement cannot be swayed by short-term factors such as the number of applicants.
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