Honestly, I will check up on it. It is not a document I am familiar with. Obviously, it should have happened by now, but I will come back to the Deputy on that.
The Deputy asked a question about security assessments. The current assessment of the risk of violence from dissident republicans in Northern Ireland is high. Indeed, we have seen violence in Derry and other places in recent months. The risk of violence in the Republic of Ireland is considered to be low in the most recent national risk assessment.
Everyone in the House will be aware that the Defence Forces are currently under-strength, especially the Naval Service and the Air Corps. It has been a real struggle to retain staff. Recruitment is going well, whereas retention is not going well because there is a much higher turnover than one would expect for defence forces. High turnover is a good thing because it keeps the Defence Forces young but when it is too high, we end up short-staffed, as is currently the case.
I am pleased that the Cabinet this week was able to authorise the return of two people to the Air Corps. Previously, it was not possible for people who left the Defence Forces, including the Naval Service or the Air Corps, to return to service. That is now possible and we have signed off on the return of the first two people seeking to rejoin the Air Corps. That is welcome and I hope it is a sign of things to come. People who try the private sector but miss life in the Defence Forces can now come back. I am glad that option is now in place.
The budget provides for a further increase in spending on defence pay and pensions as well as equipment. New ships have arrived and new aircraft are arriving. The Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Deputy Kehoe, will announce a five-year capital plan for investment in barracks, including accommodation, in the coming weeks. I expect that will be positively received.
Deputy Burton kindly acknowledged the fact that I am preoccupied with Brexit at the moment, but that does not prevent me from doing other things. I have spent a decent amount of time in recent months engaging with defence issues and the Defence Forces. I have been to the Department of Defence in Newbridge. I have met PDFORRA and the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers. I am pleased that RACO has approved the pay package on offer. I know it will want to build on that in the public sector pay talks next year. I am hopeful that PDFORRA will make the same decision on the pay package that has been offered when it ballots in November.
Over the summer, I spent two days with the Naval Service on patrol. I have been to the Curragh and I have also spent some time with the Army Ranger Wing. In addition, I have made various overseas visits with the Defence Forces.
Several people have suggested to me the idea of having a commission on the future of the Defence Forces similar to the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Most people would acknowledge that the latter commission, which was chaired by Kathleen O'Toole, carried out good work. The Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, and I are giving consideration to whether we should have a commission on the future of the Defence Forces. It is easy to have a commission on something but we need to think through what the terms of reference might be, how it would work and so on. We already have a White Paper on Defence, which was put together under the Tánaiste, I believe, when he was Minister for Defence. The White Paper is still there and we would have to think through what a commission would do. Would it overturn the White Paper or build on it? To cut a long story short, it is something we are giving some thought to.