Wednesday, 7 December 2005
Defence Forces Property.
Question 58: To ask the Minister for Defence the amount of revenue obtained from the sale of property in his Department; the percentage of same which was re-invested in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38126/05]
The Government, on 15 July 1998, approved a programme of evacuation and sale of six barracks considered surplus to military requirements. The barracks in question were located at Ballincollig, Fermoy, Castleblayney, Naas, Kildare and Islandbridge, Dublin. The value of sales-disposals completed to date in respect of the six barracks, the subject of the July 1998 Government decision, together with additional military property which was surplus to military requirements, is in the region of €90 million.
The increased level of expenditure on equipment for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service was made possible by the Government's decision that pay savings arising from the reorganisation of the Defence Forces set out in the White Paper of 2000, along with proceeds from the sale of surplus properties, would be reallocated for investment in modern facilities and equipment.
Investment in new equipment for the Defence Forces is provided for under various subheads of the Defence Vote relating to defensive equipment, mechanical transport, aircraft, ships and naval stores, engineering, communications and information technology equipment etc. All elements of the Defence Forces, the Army, Air Corps, Naval Service and the Reserve have benefited from the investment in new equipment. Over the past six years, over €200 million has been expended on the purchase of 65 armoured personnel carriers and the Javelin missile system for the Army, new patrol vessels for the Naval Service and new trainer aircraft for the Air Corps.
The programme of investment is continuing apace. Last January, my colleague, the Minister for Defence, Deputy O'Dea, signed contracts for six new helicopters for the Air Corps costing over €60 million. Planning is well under way on the replacement programme for the next Naval Service ships to reach the end of their economic life and a further 15 armoured personnel carriers will be added to the current fleet. It is expected the contract for the additional 15 APCs will be signed by the end of this year.
There are also ongoing acquisitions of modern equipment for use by soldiers on operational duties. The individual soldier is now required to carry an array of equipment while engaged on such duties. In that regard, one of the essential ongoing equipment acquisition projects concerns the provision of a modern integrated protection and load carrying system for members of the Defence Forces. This involves, inter alia, the personal protective equipment consisting of body armour and helmet. The aim is to have a new, lighter protective system which is compatible with all current and future systems required for each soldier.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House.
A tender competition was held for the provision of body armour for individual soldiers. An order has been placed for 6,000 units for delivery in 2006. In addition, a separate tender competition for helmets was also held for the acquisition of 12,000 helmets. An order has been placed for the helmets, which will also be delivered in 2006.
A tender competition for the replacement of the existing FN 9 mm Browning automatic pistol is now in train. It is expected that an order will be placed in the first quarter of 2006. In addition, an order has been placed for the provision of 400 general purpose machine guns for delivery in 2006.
The equipment issued to the Defence Forces is in keeping with the most modern requirements and the highest international standards. Alongside the investment in equipment, there has been an unprecedented level of expenditure on infrastructure in the Defence Forces in recent years, also made possible by the Government's decision. Over €178 million has been spent between 1999 and 2004 on the capital investment programme for the upgrade of barracks to provide the Defence Forces with modern accommodation, operational, training and recreational facilities. This year's Estimate for my Department includes €19.4 million for such capital works with a proposal to allocate €21.8 million in 2006. I have included, in tabular form, a list of the major projects carried out between 1999 and 2005.
The programmes to which I have referred reflect that massive steps have been taken in recent years to modernise Defence Forces equipment and infrastructure and that substantial efforts are continuing on both fronts. The continuation of investment in infrastructure and equipment for the Defence Forces remains a top priority for the Minister for Defence.
|Major Defence Forces Building and Refurbishment Projects undertaken from January 1999 to December 2004.|
|Barracks||Project||Date Contract placed||Project Cost|
|Collins, Cork||Men's Dining Hall||22 January 1999||2.19|
|Curragh Camp||Ammo Depot Upgrade services||12 April 1999||5.96|
|Casement||New Hangar 5||22 July 1999||6.33|
|Collins, Cork||New NCO's Mess||30 March 2000||1.71|
|Curragh Camp||New Pool and Gym Upgrade||23 May 2000||8.20|
|Cathal Brugha||CIS / Engineering Building||29 May 2000||2.94|
|Curragh Camp||Clarke Bks. — A and B Blocks||24 August 2000||1.59|
|Curragh Camp||Stores 1, 2, 3 and 4||1 September 2000||6.92|
|Casement||Const. of Transport W/Shops||12 September 2000||1.06|
|Curragh Camp||New Transport Technical Stores||31 October 2000||2.30|
|Collins Cork||Storage Facility — Armoury||30 November 2000||3.32|
|Curragh Camp||Refurbish Block 3 Connolly and Block 8 Plunkett||30 November 2000||3.70|
|Collins Cork||New Gymnasium||6 December 2000||2.70|
|Curragh Camp||Connolly Bks. Accom. Upgrade||6 December 2000||3.18|
|Curragh Camp||Ordnance Transport Schools||6 December 2000||3.46|
|Curragh Camp||New NCOs' Mess East||11 January 2001||2.66|
|Curragh Camp||Combat Support College — Main||23 January 2001||6.67|
|Cathal Brugha||P and Q Accommodation Blocks||31 January 2001||.96|
|Curragh Camp||NCOs' Mess West||31 January 2001||4.44|
|Curragh Camp||Vehicle Garaging, Curragh Camp||8 August 2001||4.62|
|Curragh Camp||Refurbish Kitchen — Officers' Mess — Ceannt Bks||20 September 2001||1.08|
|Casement||No. 3 Support Wing HQ||26 November 2001||3.00|
|Curragh Camp||Combined Vehicle Workshops||2 January 2002||9.03|
|Casement||Resurfacing of Runways||26 June 2002||6.40|
|Cathal Brugha||Upgrade Accommodation Block||30 August 2002||1.88|
|Curragh Camp||Container Storage Yard||9 September 2002||.99|
|Coolmoney Camp||Upgrade Works Waste||24 September 2002||1.02|
|Renmore, Galway||New Cookhouse and Dining Hall||25 September 2002||3.35|
|McKee Bks.||Upgrading of G Block||9 October 2002||1.92|
|Coolmoney Camp||Upgrade Huts and Ablutions||15 November 2002||1.21|
|Costume Bks.||New Storage Facility||21 November 2002||1.98|
|Curragh Camp||Special Storage Building||18 September 2003||2.11|
|Custume Bks.||New NCOs' Mess||26 September 2003||1.24|
|Naval Base||New Technical Stores||26 September 2003||2.57|
|Naval Base||Upgrade Billet Blocks||4 November 2003||1.53|
|Curragh Camp||Workshop and Office Facilities, Plunkett Bks.||31 August 2004||1.74|
|Cathal Brugha||Upgrade Battalion HQ||17 September 2004||1.37|
|Casement||Upgrade Other Ranks Accommodation||21 September 2004||1.30|
|Sarsfield, Limerick||Upgrade Accommodation Block||21 September 2004||1.03|
|Renmore Galway||Refurbish Storage Facility||22 October 2004||2.12|
|Custume Bks.||Refurbish Brigade Headquarters||10 November 2004||2.42|
|Major Projects commenced in 2005.|
|Barracks||Project||Date Contract placed||Project Cost|
|Sarsfield Bks., Limerick||Refurbish and Extension of Dining Hall||22 June 2005||2.05|
|Curragh Camp Connolly Bks.||Refurbish Accommodation Block 7,||18 August 2005||1.54|
|Finner Camp, Donegal||Refurbish Accommodation Blocks||7 September 2005||1.04|
|Cathal Brugha Bks., Dublin||Refurbish Accommodation Blocks L and M||7 September 2005||1.54|
|Custume Bks., Athlone||Refurbish Main Accommodation Block||3 November 2005||4.22|
|Collins Bks., Cork||Upgrade of Brigade Headquarters and Medical Facility||24 November 2005||2.71|
|Renmore Bks., Galway||Refurbish Accommodation Blocks 1 and 2||1 December 2005||1.59|
I want to reconfirm that all the money obtained for sales of properties has been used for the purchase of equipment or the upgrade or replacement of facilities. Will the Minister of State tell me whether the Minister of Defence has any other plans to sell property in order to finance the equipment programme he outlined or will the money come from normal Estimates?
My understanding is that all the money has been used but I will revert to the Deputy if any further information needs to be shared with him on the issue. On the second question, there are no plans to sell any other barracks.