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Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe announces €16m in additional funding for Defence

Minister Kehoe today announced the allocation of €922m in Defence funding for 2017. This represents a significant increase of over €16m on the corresponding 2016 allocation and will allow Defence to deliver on the commitments outlined in the White Paper on Defence.

Minister Kehoe stated: “Defence Force personnel are highly professional, possessing the operational skills, commitment and dedication required to undertake the roles assigned to them by Government, both at home and overseas. The increased 2017 Defence allocation will ensure that the Defence Forces have the necessary resources and capabilities to allow them to undertake these roles.”

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 €7m in capital funding allocated to the Defence Vote for next year, over the €67m originally provided for 2017 in the 2016 - 2021 Capital Plan. He stated: “As indicated by its approval of the White Paper on Defence, this Government remains supportive of the role played by the Defence Forces. This support is further evidenced by the provision of an additional €7m in capital funding to the Defence Vote in 2017, funding which will go towards priority equipment and infrastructural programmes.”

The 2017 budgetary allocation will allow Ireland to continue to deliver on all roles prescribed for the Defence Forces, both domestically and overseas and Minister Kehoe highlighted, in particular, the role played by the Naval Service in their continued deployment to the Mediterranean, as he stated: “I am very proud of the work of the Naval Services in assisting with the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Many lives have been saved as a result. To date, Irish participation in the humanitarian mission has resulted in the rescue of over 13,400 migrants, which clearly demonstrates the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response. The 2017 allocation contributes towards the purchase of an additional ship, due for delivery in 2018. The acquisition of modern new vessels will ensure that the operational capability of the Naval Service is maintained.”

Note for Editors

· The gross allocation provided to the Defence Sector in 2017 is €922: comprising of some €692m for Defence (Vote 36) and €230m for Army Pensions (Vote 35). Some €497m of the Defence Vote provides for the pay and allowances, of over 10,400 public service employees, comprising of at least 9,500 Permanent Defence Force (PDF) employees, 550 civilian employees and 350 civil servants. This pay provision will allow for ongoing recruitment and the Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to maintain the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at a level of 9,500.
· The non-pay allocation of €195m provided to Defence (including €74m 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 continued in 2016 with the addition to the fleet of the third ship purchased under the programme, the LÉ William Butler Yeats. In addition, agreement was also reached in 2016 for the provision of an additional ship for the Naval Service to be delivered by 2018 at a cost of €67m.
· 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 12,200 military pensioners paid by the Department of Defence. Army Pensions expenditure is largely non-discretionary and demand-driven and will increase by €6m in 2017 to some €230m.