Kildare based Senator Fiona O’Loughlin raised the issue on the declining numbers of recruits joining the Irish Defence Force in the Seanad.
Senator O’Loughlin said, “The Commission on the Defence Forces is due to report in the coming weeks, and whereas we in Kildare do not have the monopoly on the Defence Forces, the headquarters are in our county and we all have friends and family who work within its ranks. This report needs to address the issues facing the defence forces and its personnel.”
“Currently, 700 new recruits a year are needed but there is a lack of available instructors to teach the recruits. As a result, the recruitment cannot happen. It is not good enough and this position must change.”
“The defence forces stepped up during the pandemic and put in a huge amount of work to keep our society functioning- as they have always done. Whenever we have needed to call on the Defence Forces for support, they have been there, but we cannot take that for granted. If we do not adequately resource the force and address the issues in terms of recruitment and retention, then the future could be uncertain.”
Fiona concluded “I really hope the Commission report has teeth and it will finally address the recruitment and retention problem because nothing else has to date.”