Defence Forces get 4,807 applications for 75 vacancies

A total of 4,807 hopefuls applied for 75 officer cadet vacancies in the Defence Forces — an average of 64 for every post.

Defence Forces get 4,807 applications for 75 vacancies

The majority of the positions will be filled in the Army this year with the remainder in the Naval Service and Air Corps.

RACO, the organisation representing officers in the Defence Forces, said the intake was “not nearly enough” to keep pace with the number of officer vacancies and a notable increase in early retirements.

RACO said there are more than 90 officer vacancies at present while a further 48 applications are being processed for officers seeking to leave the organisation.

Figures released by the Defence Forces press office show there were 4,590 applications received in the last couple of weeks for general service recruitment (enlisted personnel) for the Army and Naval Service.

There are plans to recruit 600 in 2016 and a further 850 next year.

The Defence Forces has made a major drive this year to attract more female recruits.

Compared to 748 applications from women for officer cadet and general service posts in 2014, the figure has increased to 1,459 this year.

It is also believed the high number of applications is due to the increased visibility of the Defence Forces in the 1916 centenary commemorations, along with humanitarian rescue missions in the Mediterranean and peace-keeping missions in Lebanon and Golan Heights.

PDforra, the group which represents enlisted personnel, claimed low wages were resulting in recruits later leaving the service in large numbers.

Its deputy president, Haulbowline-based Mark Keane said a recruit receives just over €20,000 while training.

“They are provided with accommodation while training, It’s when they’re qualified and get €21,828 a year that problems surface because many of these young people have to pay for their own accommodation,” said Mr Keane.

“They can’t live on that and many tell us they’re like students living on nothing but Pot Noodle.”

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