Navy wants to lure retired sailors back to service

Navy wants to lure retired sailors back to service

A guard of honour on National Services Day last September, which also marked the 75th anniversary of the Naval Service.

The Naval Service is hoping to get permission to alter its regulations to entice more retired sailors back into the fold on a part-time basis to help alleviate the critical shortage of personnel.

The Irish Examiner understands that senior Naval Service management are planning to enter into discussions with the Department of Defence to amend a regulation that would allow civilians who have had more than 12 years service with the navy to be recruited into a First Line Reserve (FLR).

The Naval Service currently has 875 permanent personnel serving, whereas it should have a minimum strength of 1,092 — a shortfall of 219.

It is critically short of certain personnel, such as medics, engine room fitters, marine engineers, chefs, and communications specialists.

Some ships have been unable to go on sea patrols because such specialists were not available.

In the meantime, the Naval Service has been forced to mothball two ships because it doesn't have the numbers to crew them.

Currently, when a recruit is enlisted into the Naval Service they have to provide a commitment that they will work on a permanent basis for at least five years, with a further seven years commitment to provide cover through the FLR.

The scheme can also provide for nine years cover with the permanent force and a further three with the FLR.

A spokesman for the Naval Service confirmed that it is looking to expand the scope of the regulation.

“The Naval Service is currently exploring an amendment to FLR regulations for personnel retiring after 12 years to allow a return to the Naval Service for FLR service on meeting required criteria of age, medical and service conduct,” the spokesman said.

The FLR is a step-up from the Naval Service Reserve — whose numbers have also been decimated in recent years — as it's solely manned by ex-frontline personnel.

In particular, Naval Service chiefs want to entice back people into the FLR who are highly skilled, especially those who are trained in the area where there are specialist vacancies.

There are scores of people who have served 12 or more years with the Naval Service who would be eligible if the FLR criteria is expanded.

Increasing FLR numbers would firstly provide holiday cover for permanent personnel who are finding it increasingly difficult to take days owed to them because of the current shortfall in numbers.

One former Naval Service member told the Irish Examiner that both he and several former colleagues were keen to sign up if the criteria was changed.

However, he said that it would depend on the terms and conditions that were offered and there would also have to be a clause that there would be no loss of pension entitlements.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd