An increase of over €32 million on the current years defence budget allocation will allow the Defence sector to carry out all assigned roles and deliver on White Paper commitments.
Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D. today welcomed the significant allocation of over €1.07 billion in Defence Sector funding outlined in Budget 2021.
Ensuring adequate funding for pay and allowances for a target Permanent Defence Force strength of 9,500 was a priority for the Minister. He welcomed the increase of €10.5 million in the Defence Vote to provide for outstanding commitments arising from the Public Sector Stability Agreement 2018-2020 and, in particular, the restoration of 5% cut in Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) allowances imposed under FEMPI. In addition, the Minister for Defence welcomes the roll-over of the Sea-going Naval Personnel Tax Credit for a further year and its increase to €1,500.
The White Paper on Defence Update 2019 reinforced the requirement for significant capital investment on defensive equipment programmes and on upgrading and modernising the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure.
Defence Forces and Civil Defence personnel
In that regard, Minister Coveney welcomed the additional €18 million in capital funding allocated to the Defence Vote for 2021, and stated: “the increase in capital funding to €131 million for 2021 will allow Defence to continue the replacement and renewal of essential military equipment and also address the need to modernise Military installations, as identified and prioritised in the published 5 Year Infrastructure Plan.”
The Minister’s key priority is to expedite a range of infrastructural projects across Defence Forces installations, including new and refurbished accommodation blocks in Haulbowline, Renmore and at the Curragh, a new medical facility which will enable the move out of St Bricin’s site which in turn will allow the Land Development Agency to provide social and affordable housing in this area. In addition, there is funding for new gyms in Kilkenny and Limerick. Today’s package, also enables the Minister to provide significant investment in ensuring that the Defence Forces are best placed to maintain and enhance the existing Defence Forces building stock.
Minister Coveney reinforced his commitment to restore the Permanent Defence Force to its target strength of 9,500 as he added: “The Government remain committed to returning to and maintaining the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 and I have ensured that the Defence Vote is fully funded to meet the costs for the full target strength”.