Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (92)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


92. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the annual payroll and associated costs allocated to the Defence Forces which remained unspent due to the establishment number not being achieved; and if requests were made by him or the Minister for Finance for same to be reconfigured and ring-fenced for payment of military service allowances or for military capital projects, rather than being returned to the Exchequer. [45168/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Government ensures that Vote 36 (Defence) is fully funded to provide for the pay and allowances of the target strength of 9,500 Permanent Defence Force (PDF) personnel, as set out in the White Paper on Defence.

The following table shows the budget allocation and expenditure for pay and allowances for serving members of the Permanent Defence Force for the years 2014-2018, and the savings which arose mainly due to the actual PDF strength falling below the target level.

























Savings arising within the Vote, with the approval of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), have been used to address spending pressures elsewhere in the Vote Group in accordance with Government accounting procedures. Overall, the Defence Sector budget allocation for the years 2014-2018 was €4.6 billion, and the total balance remaining unspent for those five years was €4.2 million, representing less than 0.1% of the total allocation.

Similar to other areas of the Public Sector, Permanent Defence Force pay and allowance rates are determined centrally within National Pay Agreement structures. In that context, I am delighted that the Report of the Public Service Pay Commission on Recruitment and Retention in the Defence Forces contains a broad range of recommendations providing immediate benefits to PDF members. These measures which include a 10% increase in Military Service Allowance have been recently accepted by both Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations. I am pleased to confirm that payment of these increases will be progressed over the coming weeks.