Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Department of Defence
159. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the engagement he has had with military authorities on increasing the budgetary figure for meals for personnel in line with the rise of inflation we are experiencing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23789/22]
Defence Forces personnel may avail of daily meals in certain circumstances. This includes personnel engaged in security duties, approved training courses, on operational exercises and single personnel living in barracks.
I am advised that a daily ration rate is set by the military authorities and that this rate is used as a budgeting figure by military cooks when supplying meals to personnel. The rate is currently €4.20 per day.
The rate was originally calculated based on a scale of provisions determined to deliver nutritionally balanced meals with recommended levels of essential food groups and having regard to the cost of such food to the Defence Forces and economies of scale that are achieved.
The military authorities have advised that the rate has been adjusted over time to provide for inflation and that the daily ration rate is under review having regard to the re-tendering of Office of Government Procurement food contracts, a process which is currently underway. It should be noted that this matter is a delegated sub head to the Defence Forces. I also note that the Representative Association for other ranks PDFORRA have raised this matter with officials in my Department and their views will be considered.
160. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the recommendation from the Commission on the Defence Forces report regarding increasing the size and capabilities of the Reserve Defence Forces that his Department considering for implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23795/22]
I wish to reiterate that the Government remains committed to the RDF. Indeed, the White Paper on Defence is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the Reserve Defence Force.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Defence (Amendment) Act 2021 has now been signed into law, which serves to update the Defence Legislation on the use of the RDF on a voluntary basis, on-island and overseas in support of the Permanent Defence Force.
The Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces, published last February, contains many detailed recommendations, including on the future structure and role of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF).
There is a process underway to consider these recommendations in consultation with Ministerial colleagues and stakeholders. The intent is to revert to Government with a proposed response and a high-level action plan in advance of the summer recess. It would be inappropriate therefore, for me to pre-empt this deliberative process in advance of the Government's consideration.