The White Paper on Defence (2015) sets out Government policy on Defence for the next decade. It commits to retaining flexible and adaptable defence capabilities for a broad range of scenarios and sets out capability requirements including personnel and equipment in this regard. In this context, it is important that an appropriate balance is maintained between personnel costs and equipment investment.
The White Paper provides for a Permanent Defence Force Establishment of 9,500 personnel and as at 31st October 2017 (the latest date for which figures are available) the strength of the PDF was 9,219 personnel. The Defence Budget for 2017 provides for a full strength of 9,500 personnel and every effort is being made to reach this strength. With regard to equipment and infrastructure, I was pleased to have recently secured additional capital funding of €98 million over the balance of the timeframe for the Capital Investment Programme 2016–2021 which will contribute to meeting equipment and infrastructure requirements.
Apart from the White Paper targets, the Department does not maintain costings for increasing the strength of the PDF to those outlined by the Deputy. This would require detailed consideration of the capability requirements underpinning such an increase and consideration of associated personnel issues, including organisational structures as well as equipment, infrastructure and other additional requirements and associated costs.