Defence Forces Reorganisation

Questions (135)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

135. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 7 May 2014, if, in arriving at the decision to reduce the number of army brigades from three to two within a Defence Forces strength of 9,500 personnel, prior to the aforementioned decision being made, the then Chief of Staff consulted with the then three army brigade commanders to advise on the personnel, intelligence, operational, logistical and deployment implications of such a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21825/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Department of Defence has civil and military elements, with Defence Forces headquarters being the military element. The Chief of Staff who is head of Defence Forces headquarters is my principal military adviser, while the Secretary General of the Department of Defence is my principal defence policy adviser. Whilst command is vested directly in the General Officers commanding Army brigades, the Defence Forces Training Centre, the Air Corps and the Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service, the Chief of Staff is the appropriate source of military advice for matters relating to the overall management of the Defence Forces, including organisation of the Defence Forces. As the previous Minister for Defence outlined in his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 7 May 2014, the decision to undertake a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces, within a two brigade structure, was progressed within this well established overall management framework.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Minister for Defence is not privy to all discussions that take place between the Chief of Staff and the General Officers commanding the Brigades, Defence Forces Training Centre, Air Corps and the Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service. It is a matter for the Chief of Staff to seek or to utilise relevant advice, as he sees fit, from within the Defence Forces.

I can confirm that following the former Minister for Defence’s decision to initiate a major re-organisation within a two Brigade structure that the detailed proposals relating to the re-organisation were subsequently prepared by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence.

These revised structures have facilitated the Defence Forces in continuing to meet all operational requirements within the reduced resource envelope and this remains my key priority as Minister for Defence.

Defence Forces Training

Questions (136)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

136. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence in view of the fact that Defence Forces training falls into three broad categories, individual and crew skills, career training, and most especially collective training, and bearing in mind that one of the key elements of the policy of barracks closures was to consolidate large numbers of soldiers in fewer locations to increase the opportunities for the said collective training thereby leading to increased operational capability and greater quality of outputs, his views on whether the reorganisation of the Defence Forces means that soldiers are daily criss-crossing the country to plug operational manning deficiencies in other locations, mainly in Dublin, and that this is jeopardising training, is incurring unacceptable and unsustainable costs, further reducing depleted budgets and could result in further unplanned and unforeseen barrack closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21827/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The reorganisation of the Defence Forces that was finalised in October 2012 resulted in a fundamental re-structuring of Army Formations and Units across the country including the closure of a number of posts to enhance operational readiness and deployability whilst reducing numbers involved in administration. The consolidation of the Defence Forces formations into a smaller number of locations is a key objective in the ongoing defence modernisation programme by becoming a more adaptable and flexible organisation. I am advised by the military authorities that the reorganisation has increased the opportunities for collective training and associated improved military capability. The reorganisation has not impacted on Defence Forces operations and all roles are being carried out in full. The closing and sale of surplus military properties has been very cost effective. For example, military personnel occupied on security and support functions within the four barracks closed on 30 March 2012 have been released for operational duties leading to an efficiency gain of around €5 million per annum. In addition, there are direct cash savings of approximately €1.3 million per annum arising from utilities, maintenance and security duty allowances in the four barracks. There are no plans for further Barrack closures.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (137)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

137. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reasons for linear reductions applied to a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21616/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was received from the person named on 9 May 2013. Processing of this application was finalised with payment issuing in two instalments to the nominated bank account of the person named on 16 October 2013 and 2 December 2013.

Payments under the 2013 SPS scheme were made on clear applications on 16 October and 1 December 2013 which is part of the 2014 European Union financial year. As 2014 is part of the new European Union Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), it was necessary for the Commission to propose changes to the Budget to take into account that the Budget was likely to be exceeded and the need to establish a crises reserve referred to in the Conclusions of the European Council on the MFF.

Accordingly, a deduction, under financial discipline, of 2.453658% was applied to all payments over €2,000 made to applicants under the 2013 SPS. This deduction was applied proportionately to the payments that issued to the person named.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (138)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

138. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reasons for linear reductions applied to a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [21617/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was received from the person named on 9 May 2013. Processing of this application was finalised with payment issuing in two instalments to the nominated bank account of the person named on 14 November 2013 and 2 December 2013.

Payments under the 2013 SPS scheme were made on clear applications on 16 October and 1 December 2013 which is part of the 2014 European Union financial year. As 2014 is part of the new European Union Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), it was necessary for the Commission to propose changes to the Budget to take into account that the Budget was likely to be exceeded and the need to establish a crises reserve referred to in the Conclusions of the European Council on the MFF.

Accordingly, a deduction, under financial discipline, of 2.453658% was applied to all payments over €2,000 made to applicants under the 2013 SPS. This deduction was applied proportionately to the payments that issued to the person named.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (139)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

139. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the remaining 50% payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal in respect of their 2013 single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21632/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was received from the person named on 22 April 2013. Processing of this application has been finalised. The first instalment was paid to the nominated bank account of the person named on 16 October 2013 with the second instalment to issue shortly.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (140)

John O'Mahony

Question:

140. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their agri-environment options scheme payment. [21634/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 3) with effect from 1 May 2013.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. These checks are currently being carried out in respect of 2013 on the application of the person named and it is expected that 75% payment will issue shortly. The balancing 25% payment will follow.

Grassland Sheep Scheme Payments

Questions (141)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

141. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the grassland sheep payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; when payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21673/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As processing of the 2013 Grassland Sheep application of the person named has recently been finalised, payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named shortly.

Beef Data Programme

Questions (142)

Tom Fleming

Question:

142. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will expedite a beef data scheme application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21702/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named did not submit an application under the 2013 Beef Data Programme and, therefore, he will not be due a payment when payments under this Programme commence in June 2014.