Small army of 10,000 applies for 230 jobs in military
MORE than 10,000 people applied for just 230 jobs in the Defence Forces -- or 43 for every job.
A total of 6,522 job seekers applied in response to a recruitment campaign for 160 vacancies for privates in the Army.
These have now been processed and two groups of 40 each will be deployed in the Eastern and Southern commands before Christmas, while the two more 40-strong deployments will be sent to the Western command and to the Defence Forces Training Centre at the Curragh, Co Kildare early in the new year.
Another 2,554 applicants have sought 30 places for officer cadets, while 1,147 are interested in 40 general service posts with the Naval Service.
This makes a total of over 10,000 applicants for 230 jobs in the Defence Forces.
Details of the applications came as Finance Minister Brian Lenihan sanctioned 33 promotions in the organisation. The appointments involve lieutenants in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.
The military authorities are hoping to fill some senior posts in early 2011 when the vacancies will include the two top jobs in the Air Corps and Naval Service.
The post of General Officer Commanding in the Air Corps has been vacant for the past couple of months since Major General Ralph James was promoted to a deputy chief of staff of the Defence Forces.
And shortly before Christmas the Flag Officer in charge of the Naval Service, Frank Lynch, is due to retire.
The overall strength of the Defence Forces has been radically reduced and its target strength of 10,000 by the end of 2011 has already been exceeded.
Under the Government's four-year plan the military numbers are due to be cut by 500 from 10,500 in the first year.
But it was learned last night that, as a result of a lack of recruitment, the numbers have already fallen to 9,577.
Over the past decade the strength has been cut from 12,700 and the McCarthy report, put together by a panel dubbed An Bord Snip Nua, noted that the Defence Forces was the only organisation in the public service to reduce its numbers during the Celtic Tiger era.
However, despite the public moratorium in 2009 the Government sanctioned the recruitment of 42 cadets, 100 acting up appointments and promotions across a range of ranks, although permission had been sought to fill 529 vacancies