Fine Gael Kildare South TD, Martin Heydon, yesterday (Thursday) complimented Minister for Defence Alan Shatter on keeping his commitment to maintain the strength of the Defence Forces at 9,500 as a further 600 recruitment places were announced.

“As a result of recent retirements, the strength of the Defence Forces is now more than 500 below the agreed serving level of 9,500 and so recruitment of up to 600 vacancies will be advertised shortly to be filled this year”.

“Those recruited must fit the vacancies deemed essential to the ongoing efficient running of the Defence Forces.  Sales of closed barracks had earned the state close to €85m, this money was ringfenced and returned to the Defence Forces.”

“Since his appointment, Minister Shatter has consistently maintained that the serving strength of the defence forces would not fall below 9,500 and I welcome his ongoing commitment to that aim.  This recruitment drive will further enhance the strength of the force while providing many young people with an opportunity to develop a lifetime career in the service, concluded Deputy Heydon”