Minister Coveney today welcomed the allocation of some €1.174 billion in Defence Group funding as outlined in Budget 2023. This allocation represents an increase of €67 million on the corresponding 2022 budget allocation and provides a financial platform for the Defence Sector to initiate the required transformation, as recommended by the Commission on the Defence Forces. It will also assist in bringing our Defence capabilities closer to European norms, while also ensuring the ongoing Defence Forces capacity to deliver on all roles assigned by Government, both at home and overseas.
Minister Coveney commented: “The increased allocation represents a significant endorsement of the work of the Commission and demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment to support the transformation of the Defence Forces into a modern, agile military force, capable of responding to increasingly complex security threats”
In particular, Minister Coveney welcomed the increase of €35 million in capital funding, raising the overall capital allocation to €176 million, an increase of almost 25% and the highest ever capital allocation provided to Defence. The Commission on the Defence Forces has reinforced the urgent requirement for significant capital investment on defensive equipment programmes and on upgrading and modernising the Defence Forces built infrastructure. In that regard, Minister Coveney stated:
“The 2023 capital funding allocation of €176 million represents the highest ever level of capital funding provided to the Defence Sector and clearly represents an expression of confidence from Government in the capacity of the Defence Organisation to progress and upgrade military capabilities having regard to emerging priorities, operational requirements and changes in technology. This is an ongoing iterative process which will include an immediate exploration of the identified need to develop a primary radar capability.”
The Defence Group pay and pensions budget has increased to €823 million and will be used to meet the ongoing pay and allowance costs of the Defence Forces, along with pay and allowance costs of civilian employees and Departmental civil servants and the pensions costs of ex-members of the Defence Forces and their dependents, including the costs associated with the existing ‘Building Momentum’ pay deal in 2023.
This provision also includes funding for a number of key posts recommended by the Commission and included in the High Level Action Plan, including the heads of Transformation and Strategic HR in the Defence Forces.
The increased allocation of €175 million in non-pay current expenditure on the Defence Vote will assist the Defence Forces in meeting the escalating standing and operational costs anticipated in 2023 and also includes funding for Civil Defence and the Irish Red Cross Society.
The Army Pensions Vote has increased by €10 million to €281 million and will provide for the pensions and gratuities of over 13,000 ex-members of the Defence Forces and certain dependents.
Minister Coveney concluded by expressing his sincere gratitude for the work carried out by the Permanent Defence Force, Civil Defence, Reserve Defence Force and his Department during 2022 as he commented: “As a nation, we can be very proud of the marvellous work undertaken by the Defence Sector throughout 2022 and can look forward with confidence to 2023.”