Minister Kehoe today announced the allocation of €946m in Defence funding for 2018. This represents a significant increase of over €25m on the corresponding 2017 allocation and will allow Defence to continue to deliver on the commitments in the White Paper.
Minister Kehoe stated: “The increased 2018 Defence allocation ensures that the men and women who serve Ireland with distinction have the capacity and the resources necessary to successfully undertake all prescribed Government roles, both at home and overseas”
The White Paper on Defence has identified and prioritised the need for capital investment on a broad range of replacement defensive equipment programmes and on upgrading the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure.
In that regard, Minister Kehoe emphasised the importance of the additional €98m in Defence capital funding bringing the capital envelope up to €416m over the 2018-2021 timeframe, with the 2018 allocation increased to €77m. Minister Kehoe described this additional capital funding as a: “significant boost to ongoing efforts at modernising and upgrading Defence equipment platforms and built infrastructure.
“The multi-annual programme includes the replacement of the Air Corps Cessna aircraft and both of the Casa Maritime Patrol aircraft and the mid-life upgrade of the Mowag APC fleet. Over the longer term, it enables the planning process to start for a Multi-Role Vessel to replace the current Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne. I am delighted to have been able to secure the continuation of this programme”.
The 2018 budgetary allocation will allow Ireland to continue to deliver on all roles prescribed for the Defence Forces, both domestically and overseas. Minister Kehoe highlighted, in particular, the overseas role played by the Defence Forces, as he stated: “Ireland has a long and continuous record of contributing to peacekeeping missions, and I remain very proud of the exemplary professionalism, resourcefulness and commitment shown by the Defence Forces in their many overseas postings throughout the World.”
Minister Kehoe continues stating that: “While this work is provided through the versatility of military capabilities, it is always reliant upon the professionalism and dedication of the men and women of the Permanent Defence Forces. I remain fully committed to achieving the establishment figure of 9,500 for the Defence Forces and I have ensured that the Defence Vote has the necessary funding to deliver on this outcome.”
This funding will also allow continued investment in Defence Forces built infrastructure and the acquisition of force protection equipment; the further development of the armoured personnel carrier fleet; and the purchase of new and the replacement ICT hardware.
Financial Overview: The gross allocation provided to the Defence Sector in 2018 is €946: comprising of some €707m for Defence (Vote 36) and €239m for Army Pensions (Vote 35). Some €509m of the Defence Vote provides for the pay and allowances, of over 10,400 public service employees, comprising of 9,500 Permanent Defence Force (PDF) employees, 550 civilian employees and 355 civil servants. This pay allocation includes Lansdowne Road/Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 commitments of some €12m. It will facilitate ongoing recruitment and the Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to achieving the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at a level of 9,500.
The non-pay allocation of €198m provided to Defence (including €77m in capital) provides mainly for essential and ongoing Defence Forces standing and operational costs together with the necessary procurement and upgrading of defensive equipment and infrastructure. The Naval Vessel Replacement Programme is continuing with the addition to the fleet of the fourth ship LÉ George Bernard Shaw. This ship is scheduled to be delivered by mid-2018 at a cost of some €67m.
The additional €98m in Defence capital funding brings the capital envelope up to €416m over the 2018-2021 timeframe. This allocation provides for the replacement of the Cessna fleet with three larger aircraft suitably equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance tasks. The tender competition for the procurement of the three new aircraft is underway. The procurement process for the replacement of the both of the Casa Maritime Patrol aircraft will begin in 2018. It also puts in place funding to commence the process of procuring a Multi-Role Vessel to replace the LÉ Eithne.
The Defence Vote also includes funding for the Reserve Defence Force, Civil Defence and a grant to the Irish Red Cross Society.
As regards the Army Pensions Vote, there are over 12,300 military pensioners paid by the Department of Defence. Army Pensions expenditure is largely non-discretionary and demand-driven and the 2018 provision will increase by €10m to some €239m. This increase is mainly attributable to an increasing number of Army Pensioners.
The 2018 allocation includes funding for significant investment in the Defence Forces built infrastructure, including the following projects:
-- Secure (Ammunition) Storage Depot Upgrade, DFTC
-- Locker Block refurbishment, Cathal Brugha Barracks
-- Accommodation Upgrade (Pearse Barracks), DFTC
-- Equitation Stables Re Roofing, McKee Barracks