Yesterday, we debated a Private Members’ motion calling for the restoration of military allowances and the supplementary pension for post-2013 entrants and to allow members join the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, ICTU. Earlier, I recited extracts from documents presented to me by Óglaigh na hÉireann in my constituency and from other constituencies. The figures for the annual pension are very stark, with a discharge rate of €42,000 after 20 years and a gratuity of €31,500. The 55 to 60 retirement age was addressed but it seems we are dealing with the group of public servants most affected by austerity, which the Public Service Pay Commission has not addressed.
52.Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he is taking to address the personnel gaps in the Defence Forces; the areas in which these gaps are most acute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52732/17]
Deputy Paul Kehoe: From the most recent figures available, the strength of the Permanent Defence Force is currently 9,219 personnel, or 97% of the establishment of 9,500 personnel. To return to and maintain the agreed strength levels, significant targeted recruitment has taken place in 2017 which resulted to date in 702 personnel being inducted, comprising general service recruits, cadets and specialists for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. Similar recruitment campaigns are being planned for 2018.