General says the Defence Forces are in crisis
The Defence Forces are suffering from a "resource crisis", a retired senior army officer says.
The claim comes in the wake of revelations about a lack of pilots in the Air Corps, following the Coast Guard Rescue 116 disaster.
Retired Brigadier General Ger Aherne has criticised Defence Forces statements on the turning down of a request for Air Corps help in the doomed rescue due to a lack of ground and air crews.
Writing in today's Irish Independent, the former commander of the 4th Western Brigade of the Defence Forces dismissed claims that 28 Air Corps cadets are in training, with eight due to graduate in the last quarter of this year.
"The truth is that none of these eight trainees will be qualified to even act as co-pilots of a helicopter or a fixed wing Casa in an Air Corps operational Wing until the summer of 2019, at the earliest," he says.
Meanwhile, the Air Accident Investigation Unit has confirmed there are marks on wreckage found at Black Rock lighthouse "consistent with the tail of the aircraft" hitting rocky surfaces. The search for Rescue 116 continues.