#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Friday 24 September 2021
Advertisement

Pop up recruitment centre in Dublin tomorrow for Naval Service to find 200 recruits so ships can go to sea

Minister Coveney has admitted that the Naval Service urgently needs 200 new sailors so that ships can sail from their Cork base.

Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Department of Defence Secretary General Jacqui McCrum
Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Department of Defence Secretary General Jacqui McCrum
Image: Niall O'Connor

A NAVAL VESSEL will run a pop up recruitment office in Dublin tomorrow to fill 200 vacancies that have caused naval vessels to stay tied up in port.

The move comes as Minister for Defence Simon Coveney spoke at the Naval Base in Cork today about a 1,000 personnel shortage for the Defence Forces in general. 

The issues of retention of staff as well as pay and conditions has been an important topic but the Minister went on board the LÉ George Bernard Shaw for a day long patrol down the East coast. 

The naval service vessel LÉ Róisín will be tied up at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay where tents, a pop up recruitment centre, will be set up where prospective sailors can sign up, go through their interview and psychometric tests. 

As he arrived at Haulbowline Naval Base he spoke to The Journal and admitted that naval vessels are not able to go to sea and fulfil their obligations to monitor Irish waters. 

“The impact of being below strength in the Naval Service is that not all of our ships are out. We aren’t going to compromise people’s working conditions or safety by putting less people on ships and asking them to do more.

“We have ships tied up today, that wouldn’t if we had 200 more people in our naval service. We know that and I can assure you that we aren’t going to make decisions to ask people to do the impossible because that is not the approach. 

Safety is the first and foremost consideration,” he said. 

thumbnail_33055137100_17b83f4576_o The LÉ Róisín will be running a pop up recruitment centre at Sir John ROgerson's Quay in DUblin over the coming days. Source: Irish Defence Forces

Minister Coveney joined the LÉ George Bernard Shaw on a patrol down the east and south coast this morning.  

“One of the things I wanted to do was live on board for at least 24 hours and speak to the crew. The morale is really positive and strong. The message I want to give today, is that from tomorrow we launch a new recruitment campaign for the naval service.

“The LÉ Róisin is in Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin and we have a pop up recruitment centre there to explain to people what a career in the naval service is like and what they can expect. We will walk them through the process of application that can be fast tracked.

“This is proactive the Defence Forces is is an organisation that can recognise that we have a problem with numbers. That is a problem we are determined to solve,” he said. 

The Minister admitted that pay and conditions were a problem that needed to be solved but he said that it was not possible to separate Defence Forces pay negotiations from the collection negotiations already in place in the public service. 

He would not be drawn if he and his Government colleagues felt any regret for how the Defence Forces were handled by the State in recent years. 

“No, look if you speak to my colleagues across Europe, there are challenges with recruitment and retention. Lots of countries looking at that. We’ve had a number of reviews and some of those reviews have resulted in decisions that were very successful.

“For example we had a retention problem in the Air Corps and we put in place a retention scheme to encourage pilots back in and that was very successful and we are responding to issues and not to look back.

“My focus is to look forward, not look back and that is why we have a commission on the defence forces and looking at this full time and look for an accurate and informed report at the end of the year,” he added. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Image from iOS (3) On board the LÉ George Bernard Shaw from left, Department of Defence, Secretary General Jacqui McCrum, Commodore Michael Malone, crew member Aileen Forde, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney. Source: Irish Defence Forces

Minister Coveney said that he was seeking an agreement with the Department of Public Expenditure to clear the way to pay an incentivised allowance for Naval Service members are willing to commit to times at sea. 

There is an impending further recruitment crisis as 700 Naval Service members who signed contracts of service after 1994 will be required to retire in December 2022. 

The Minister said the Government were looking at that issue and trying to find a fix. 

Image from iOS (1) Minister Coveney with the crew of LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

On his trip from Dun Laoighaire Coveney was accompanied by Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM.

He said: “The Naval Service has a very proud history and tradition of serving the people of Ireland.

“As a serving Naval Officer, I can vouch that a job in the Naval Service will provide adventure, camaraderie and lifelong learning. No two days are ever the same.

“No matter what path you choose to follow in the Naval Service, or indeed any of the tapestry of careers offered by the Defence Forces you will constantly progress, both personally and professionally.” 

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (49)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel