Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (605, 606)

Micheál Martin

Question:

619 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the future of the 4th Infantry Battalion in Collins Barracks, Cork, in view of reports that it will be disbanded. [34731/12]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

620 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Defence his plans for the future of the 4th infantry battalion based at Collins Barracks in Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34750/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 619 and 620 together.

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, the Government stabilised the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. In response, I initiated a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces. It is not viable to retain a three brigade structure within a strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel. Accordingly, the re-organisation encompasses a reduction in the number of Army Brigades from the current three to two.

The re-organisation builds upon and complements the efficiencies arising from recent barrack closures. Although the organisational structures are being revised there is no requirement for further barrack closures as part of this process. There will, of course, be movement of functions and personnel within and between barracks, as provided for in the Croke Park Agreement.

The purpose of the re-organisation is to ensure that the operational effectiveness of the Permanent Defence Force is prioritised within available resources. This will be achieved through consolidating under-strength Units, rationalising headquarters, administrative and support functions and re-balancing force elements in favour of "front-line" operational Units.

I tasked the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence to bring forward detailed proposals relating to the new organisational structures for my consideration. I will not be commenting on any speculation regarding the re-organisation in advance of my announcing the full details.