Written Answers - Defence Forces Reserve.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 668 No. 4

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  198.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   the criteria to qualify for the new gratuity payments to recruits; the reason his Department decided not to pay recruits a gratuity in December 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43084/08]

  199.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   the changes in gratuity payments to the Defence Forces; the amount that has been saved by these measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43085/08]

[1011]Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  I propose to take Questions Nos. 198 and 199 together.

The Reserve Defence Force is a part-time, voluntary organisation whose primary activity is training. Members are free to determine their own level of participation in Reserve activities and may resign from the Reserve at any time. Their service is provided entirely on a voluntary basis with no compulsion to attend. Members of the Reserve undergo both paid and unpaid training.

A gratuity is paid to members of the Reserve Defence Force as a measure of reimbursement on account of losses, expenses and disabilities incurred by them consequent on their obligations as members of the Reserve Defence Force. As part of the modernisation of the Reserve Defence Force, a new scheme for the payment of gratuities was introduced from 1 January 2008 following consultation and agreement with the relevant stakeholders including the Reserve Defence Force Representative Association.

The new scheme provides for phased increases to the gratuity subject to the satisfactory completion by the Reservists of specified minimum periods of training and to have served for the period of the Reserve-training year which runs from the 1st November to the 31 of October. Service in the Reserve commences on completion of the recruitment process, including medical testing and security clearance. The previous rates and the revised rates changes are outlined in the table.

Ranks Previous Rates (With effect from 1 Jan 06) Revised Rate for aggregate of 7 days paid training plus the completion of voluntary training after 1 years service Revised Rate for aggregate of 14 days paid training plus the completion of voluntary training after 2 years service Rates Integrated Reserve DefenceForces
Senior Officer* 295.70 414 1,035 2,070
Officers 195.11 306 765 1,530
NCO’s 155.44 252 630 1,260
Privates 114.21 180 450 900

Gratuities paid in 2007 amounted to €581,000. The projected spend for 2008 is €1.2 million. The actual spend for 2008 will be determined in January 2009, when payments are completed in December 2008.

I am satisfied that the new scheme creates incentives to improve retention and attendance at training in the Reserve Defence Forces and this represents an effective productivity return from the revised gratuity rates. This is important in the context of the ongoing modernisation and change agenda within the Reserve Defence Forces.

  200.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Defence  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   if a report is available on the survey carried out earlier in 2008 to determine the skills base available to the Permanent Defence Force among Reserve Defence Force members; when he expects members of the RDF to be ready to serve overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43086/08]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  The survey undertaken by the military authorities was conducted in order to identify the technical, mechanical and specialist skill sets available within the Reserve and the results have been recorded in a database compiled by the military authorities. This is part of the process in progressing the plan to allow for members of [1012]the Reserve to serve overseas. It is hoped that, in line with the Reserve Defence force Review Implementation Plan, a small number of Reservists with appropriate training and technical qualifications will be available for overseas service by end 2009.


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