Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (269)

Seán Fleming

Question:

269. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Defence the gross and net additional expenditure savings that his Department is seeking to achieve in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49239/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Gross and Net Provision for Defence (Vote 36) up to 2012 and the scheduled provision for 2013 are set out in the following table:

Defence (Vote 36) – Gross & Net Provision 2010 to 2013

-

2010 €m

2011 €m

2012 €m

* 2013 €m

Gross Provision

756.4

727.0

688.4

685.6

Net Provision

705.6

678.7

647.0

644.6

* Gross Expenditure Ceiling as set out in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure

Gross expenditure ceilings were set out in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 and currently form the basis of the 2013 Estimates discussions which are ongoing. While the individual Vote expenditure ceilings will be announced on 5 December, the updated position in regard to the overall fiscal consolidation for 2013 will be published shortly by my colleague the Minister for Finance in the Medium-Term Fiscal Statement.

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, the Government’s decision to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500 personnel has resulted in sustainable savings as reflected in the figures above. In addition, there were savings achieved from the reductions in the number of Civilian Employees and Civil Servants.

Earlier this year, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces was undertaken in order to maximise the operational capabilities of the PDF within the revised strength level. The organisational structures that were in place for a PDF strength of approximately 11,500 personnel were clearly outmoded and no longer fit for purpose. In July this year, I accepted the Chief of Staff and Secretary General’s recommendation regarding new PDF structures and announced the details. Implementation of these revised organisational structures is ongoing.

Measures to reduce costs and deliver greater efficiencies over the past three years have also included a further rationalisation and consolidation of the Defence property portfolio. Regarding the recent closure of the four military barracks - Clonmel, Cavan, Mullingar and Castlebar, military personnel occupied on security and support functions within these installations have been released for operational duties leading to a manpower efficiency gain of around €5 million p.a. In addition, there are direct cash savings of approximately €1.3m per annum arising from utilities, maintenance and security duty allowances in the four barracks.

Despite the reductions in funding, a key focus has been the prioritisation and maintenance of PDF operational capacity in order to ensure that the PDF retain the capacity to fulfil all roles assigned.