Minster for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, attended the 2021 Biennial Delegate Conference of the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers
The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, today, (Tuesday 23 November 2021) addressed the 2021 Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) Biennial Delegate Conference (BDC) at the Killashee House Hotel in Naas, Co. Kildare.
The Minister welcomed the opportunity to address the delegates on key issues affecting the Defence Forces.
Minister Coveney took the opportunity to address the important issue of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the Defence Forces. The Minister stated that “significant work has been undertaken in relation to the establishment of an Independent Review. I intend to establish this review in the coming weeks”. Minister Coveney acknowledged the considerable time spent by delegates at the Conference discussing this issue and commented that “the representative associations are key stakeholders in this process and your continued involvement and support is welcomed and extremely important”.
The Minister acknowledged the ongoing challenge of recruitment and retention in the Defence Forces and highlighted a number of actions that have been undertaken to date in order to address this matter. Minister Coveney stated that “Ongoing recruitment efforts have resulted in 577 inductions so far this year, of which 49 were cadets. These inductions occurred despite the COVID challenges”. The Minister added that while the current number of officers in the Defence Forces was above establishment figures, he was aware that some ranks continue to be over and under-represented. As Minister for Defence, his priority is to return the Defence Forces to full establishment. In that context he stated that “I look forward to the report due at the end of this year from the Commission on the Defence Forces, a body tasked to examine the issue of recruitment and retention”.