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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999

Vol. 507 No. 3

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Review.

John V. Farrelly


64 Mr. Farrelly asked the Minister for Defence if he has satisfied himself with the pace of re-organisation in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16729/99]

In February 1996 the Government accepted the Defence Forces Review Implementation Plan, 1996-1998 which set out the objectives and targets for the initial phase of the Defence Forces reorganisation process.

I am satisfied with the overall Defence Forces reorganisation process thus far. From among the many objectives that have been achieved I would like to highlight a reduction in the overall PDF strength by 1,300 to 11,500 and the consequential allocation of 50 per cent of the pay savings to infrastructure and equipment investment; a continuous recruitment policy; the successful introduction of a new structure for Defence Forces headquarters; a comprehensive reorganisation of the Army into a three brigade structure; and the completion of the consultants' studies of the Air Corps and Naval Service.

In addition, in July last year, the Government approved a programme of evacuation and sale of six barracks which are considered surplus to military requirements. This decision was part of the relocation, refurbishment and re-equipment of the Defence Forces, as recommended in the Price Waterhouse report regarding the rationalisation of military installations generally. Five barracks were subsequently evacuated and the sale of these will proceed as soon as is practicable.

The momentum for reform of the Defence Forces will continue by means both of the implementation plans for the reorganisation of the Air Corps and Naval Service which are currently being finalised and through the White Paper on defence process which will be completed later this year.

I am also looking forward to receiving the report of the steering group for the study of the Reserve Defence Force very shortly.