Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Defence
33. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has ever requested that moneys not spent from the defence Vote annually due to the establishment number of the Defence Forces not being reached that year could be ring-fenced and used in each of the following years to address the reasons many members of the Defence Forces have left or are contemplating leaving the service. [45673/19]
The Government ensures that Vote 36 (Defence) is fully funded to provide for the pay and allowances of the target strength of 9,500 Permanent Defence Force (PDF) personnel, as set out in the White Paper on Defence.
Over the past five years, less than 0.1% of Defence Sector funding has remained unspent. Savings arising on subheads, including pay subheads, have with the approval of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, been used to address spending pressures elsewhere in the Vote Group, in accordance with Government accounting procedures. There is no provision to ring-fence pay savings for carryover to subsequent years.
The Public Service Pay Commission has examined recruitment and retention issues in the Defence Forces and the report contains a broad range of recommendations, which will provide immediate benefits to members of the PDF as well as initiatives that can lead to further improvements. The Public Service Pay Commission recommendations have been accepted by both PDF Representative Associations.
The Government has prepared a detailed plan, with timelines, to facilitate the effective implementation of the Public Service Pay Commission recommendations. This Plan also provides for an examination of core pay in the PDF within the context of the Public Service Stability Agreement and future public sector pay negotiations.
Under my direction, this ongoing work is being prioritised by civil and military management within my Department.