Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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233. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which he remains satisfied that all equipment used by the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps is in keeping with the best available in order to ensure their safety when operating on or offshore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56800/21]

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 to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government, including overseas deployments.

The acquisition of new equipment for the Defence Forces remains a clear focus for me. Future equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are considered in the context of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment priorities planning process. The principal aim over the period of the White Paper is to replace and upgrade, as required, capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements, including response to security risks and other emergencies, both at home and overseas.

The Equipment Development Plan (EDP) published in June 2020, completed through extensive joint civil-military work, provides a comprehensive list of planned equipment projects which will be progressed over a five year period. This plan builds on the intentions set out in the White Paper in relation to equipment acquisition, modernisation and upgrades and has been developed to ensure that the Defence Forces have the major equipment platforms, ancillary equipment and force protection equipment to carry out their important roles both at home and overseas.

I am committed to update and upgrade the Defence Forces equipment and capability, having regard to the financial envelope available. The Department of Defence has received a capital allocation under the National Development Plan of €566m over the 2022-2025 timeframe. Within that capital allocation the Defence annual capital budget for 2022 is €141m. This will enable continued investment in defence equipment, including major platforms, and barracks infrastructure.

The level of capital funding available will allow the Defence Organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service as identified and prioritised in the Defence White Paper and builds on the significant investment programme over recent years.

I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary modern and effective range of equipment available to them which is in line with best international standards in order to ensure their safety as they fulfil all roles assigned to them by Government.


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