Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

National Development Plan

Photo of Cormac DevlinCormac Devlin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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120. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the key defence measures under the new National Development Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56501/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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My priority as Minister for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, is maintained and developed so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government, including overseas deployments.

In accordance with the National Development Plan, the Department of Defence has received a capital envelope of €566 million over the 2022-2025 timeframe, with the 2022 allocation increasing from €131 in 2021 to €141 million.This level of capital funding will boost ongoing efforts at modernising and upgrading defence equipment platforms and built infrastructure.

Among the priority defence equipment and platform projects underway the National Development Plan highlighted the following:

- Upgrade of armoured vehicles

- Replacement of 4 X 4 fleet

- Replacement of troop transport fleet

- Software defined radio project

- Integrated modular body armour system

- Mid-life refit of LÉ Niamh

- Acquisition of a Multi Role Vessel

- C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft project

A significant number of infrastructural projects will also be advanced and completed under the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure Programme, in line with climate change considerations over the coming years, including:

- Upgrade of training facilities in Kilkenny and Limerick.

- Provision of a new Cadet School in DFTC, Curragh, Co. Kildare.

- Provision of a New Military Medical Facility for the Defence Forces at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co. Dublin.

- Upgrade to accommodation facilities in various military locations throughout the country such as Collins Barracks, Cork, McKee Barracks, Dublin and the Naval Base, Haulbowline.

The capital funding provided under the National Development Plan emphasises the importance attached by the Government to ensuring that the Defence Forces have the capabilities necessary to deliver on all the roles assigned by Government. I particularly welcome the funding certainty now provided by the National Development Plan as it will enable the Defence Forces to continue delivering required outputs both at home and overseas.

The Government established an independent Commission on the Defence Forces in December 2020, with a mandate to report within 12 months.The work of the Commission encompasses the consideration of appropriate capabilities, structures and staffing, and I look forward to their report at year end, which will inform future capability decisions.

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