The Department of Defence is considering scrapping, or lowering, intelligence tests, which are used to select recruits to the army, naval service, and air corps.
The department is looking at avenues to improve recruitment amid fears there may not be enough suitable candidates in the next round of recruitment. Dropping or lowering the bar on psychometric testing is an option being discussed.
“The conditions for entry to and service in the Permanent Defence Force are subject to continuous review, having regard to the needs of the organisation and the development of best practices.”
Psychometric testing is used on potential recruits to assess their intelligence, logic, reasoning, and numerical and verbal abilities.
Fears are being raised that any test reduction is potentially dangerous and is an attempt to recruit anybody just to bolster intake, rather than addressing the exodus of highly-trained personnel, who are leaving for better pay and conditions in the private sector.
In March last year, 5,210 people expressed interest in joining the Defence Forces. Of those 4,388 were deemed eligible to apply. Only 1,213 passed the psychometric test. That was whittled down to 506 after fitness tests and interview and of those 402 passed the required medical.
In a second recruitment campaign last September, it was noticeable that figures fell across the board in comparison.
Fianna Fáil defence spokesperson Lisa Chambers, said psychometric tests were necessary to ensure applicants had “the particular level of intelligence and competence” required to be military personnel.
“There’s a huge responsibility attached to the job and a responsibility on each serving soldier to ensure the safety and wellbeing of fellow servicemen and service women,” said Ms Chambers, who served as an officer in the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF).
It’s understood discussions also took place on the possibility of dropping the entry requirement that bars colour-blind people from joining up.
However, it seems far less likely that this will be introduced.
Security sources point out that there is a reason that bar is in place.
The Defence Forces press office said it expects that this year’s general service recruitment campaign will be launched by the end of March.
It wasn’t able to say a s yet how many recruits would be sought.
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