Defence Forces launch major recruitment drive

It's one of the largest in recent years

Defence Forces launch major recruitment drive

Image: Defence Forces

The Irish Defence Forces have announced a major recruitment drive, with positions available in Army, Air Corps and Naval services.

Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe plans to induct 860 new entrants within 2017. 

Speaking after the announcement, Minister Kehoe said the recruitment drive is "extremely significant".

"It opens up significant opportunities, across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, for young people to serve their country as members of Óglaigh na hÉireann," he said. "For each individual, it also offers a unique career opportunity and first class training."

Retention issue

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Kehoe said he did not want to use the word 'crisis' but acknowledged that retention of troops was an issue.

He acknowledged that there had been a "huge exit" of officers from the ranks, and attributed that to the increasing number of opportunities for young people outside the Defence Forces. 

Outlining his efforts in retaining troops, Minister Kehoe said:

"We brought in the biggest cadet class in the history of the state last year. We brought 70 cadets into the army itself ... This is part of us restrengthening all the brigades structures, and to make sure that we have the sufficient officers to carry out our daily duties."

Morale

A well-being survey published in September 2016 by the Irish Defence Forces showing a steady decline in morale among troops, with 48% expressing satisfaction with military life.

By comparison, a 64% approval rating was recorded in 2008.

Minister Kehoe applauded staff for carrying out the survey, and put the low figure down to re-organisation within the defence forces following the closure of regional barracks.

"We have a number of challenges within the defence forces - reducing from a three-brigade structure to a two brigade structure [...] We had to close a number of barracks, and there was good reason why we had to close them."

The first of these competition streams, general enlistment, is now open on the Defence Forces website at www.military.ie