Go ndeonófar suim nach mó ná £5,899,100 chun sláinaithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31 ú lá de Mhárta, 1963, le haghaidh Óglaigh na hÉireann (lena n-áirítear Deontais-i-gCabhair áirithe) faoi na hAchtanna Cosanta, 1954 agus 1960 (Uimh. 18 de 1954 agus Uimh. 44 de 1960), agus le haghaidh Costais áirithe riaracháin i ndáil leis an gcéanna; le haghaidh Costais áirithe faoi na hAchtanna um Chiontaí in Aghaidh an Stáit, 1939 agus 1940 (Uimh. 13 de 1939 agus Uimh. 2 de 1940), agus faoi na hAchtanna um Réamhchúram in aghaidh AerRuathar, 1939 agus 1946 (Uimh. 21 de 1939 agus Uimh. 28 de 1946); le haghaidh Costais i ndáil le Boinn a thabhairt amach, etc.; agus le haghaidh Deontas-i-gCabhair do Chumann Croise Deirge na hÉireann (Uimh. 32 de 1938).
Fearacht gach seirbhíse poiblí eile, éilíonn an chosaint náisiúnta tuille airgid thar mar rinne cúis don tír anuraidh. Is iad luach saothair agus liúntaisí phearsanta faoi ndear do leath an easnaimh de níos mó ná milliún punt atáthar ghá iarraidh don bhliain nua airgeadais.
Fearas cosanta an chéad mhéadú eile is mó ina dhiaidh sin a atann an Meastachán thar anuraidh. Ach, ar ndóigh, ní h-íontas é sin agus gach saghas soláthair ag daoirsiú. Siad an dá cheann sin—fir agus fearas—dlúth agus inneach aon chóras cosanta. Ní fhéadfaí an tArm a fhágáil chun deiridh san ochtú babhta bhreisiú luach saothair, cé nár deárnadh an oiread glóráin ar a son is a rinneadh dá lán eile. Nuair a bhíonn sábháil airgid agus laghdú chostas seirbhíse poiblí dá dtóiríocht, is iondual go mbítear ag braith ar an Arm ina gcomhair; agus, ar ndóigh, tá géillte againn i mbliana don bhraith sin. Is ioma sin soláthair eile a beifí ghá iarraidh dá mbiodh an sparán poiblí sách teann chuige, nar is ioma sin gléas, fearas agus trealamh a theastaíonns ó Arm ins na saolta deireannacha seo.
Ba mhaith liom, freisin, abhfad níos nó caiteachas ar cheathrúin pósta agus ar fhoirgníocht ná mar atá meastaithe don bhliain atá amach romhainn. Tá céad seasca dó tithe nuacha tógtha ag an Arm ó stop an cogadh agus faoi láthair tá ocht dtithe á dtógáil ag Scoil Phrintísigh an Arm, Nás na Rí. Ní féidir ach oiread áirithe de tithe a dhéanamh gach bliain, ach coinneófar ar an obair seo go dtí go mbí ceathrúin pósta maith sláintiul ag gach saidiúr pósta.
Shiúl mé cuid mhaith de na dúin, agus, cé go bhfuil siad beagnach ar fad sean, caithfidh mé an Cór Innealtóirí a mholadh as ucht an chaoi atá siad ag coinneál orra in éadan deachrachtaí. Tá an Cór sin agus an Cór Ordanáis, an Cór Comharthaíochta agus an tAer Chór le moladh freisin as na scoileanna phrintíseachta atá á reachtáil acu i Nás Na Rí, Baile Dhómhnaill agus Campa Tréineála an Churraigh. Ba uchtach mór dom na ranganna stócaigh a fheiceál ansin agus iad go dian dícheallach ag foghlaim céard na h-innealtóireachta agus eile. Sin taobh don Arm a ndéantar coitianta neamhshuim de: sé sin chomh fóintiúl is a bhíonns an oiliúint a cuirtear ar na saidiúirí agus iad arís ag tóiríocht fostaíochta shibhialta. Seadh, is ioma sin deis foghlaoma atá curtha ar fáil don earcach óg san Arm; agus mar bharr ar na deiseanna sin tá cuid is mó de na bunáiteacha Airm suite cóngarach do scoileanna ghairmoideachasis.
Tá dóthain saorama ag saidiúirí le freastal ar na scoileanna seo—nó muna bhfuil in aon áit aca, tá sé amhlaidh i ngeall ar nach bhfuil an líon san áit sin suas go dtí an neart bunaithe. Baineann an tagairt seo go háiride leis an gcéad Cathlán coisithe. Bunaíodh é do lucht na teangan náisiúnta agus go mórmhór do aos óg na Gaeltachta. Tá a bhunáit i Rinn Mhór na Gaillimhe, an suíomh do aos congaraí lárach do na Gaeltachtaí móra. Is oth liom a rá go bhfuil sé thíos faoina neart agus go mb'éigean fir gan Ghaeilge a thabhairt isteach ann lena choinneál ag imeacht. Idir phá is eile tá an saidiúracht ionchomortais le fostaíocht shibhialta. Ar an ábhar sin, ní fíor a rá nach bhfuil saothrú le fáil ag cuid mhaith díobhtha siúd a bhíonn ag imeacht leo thar lear. Ní fheicim fáth ar bith nach bhféadfadh an Ghaeltacht an oiread eisiomairceóirí a sparáil is a choinneódh an cathlán seo ag imeacht. Is féidir le stócach sheacht mbliana déag a dhul san Arm ach cead agus beannacht a athar agus máthar aige chuige sin. Dá mbíodh a leithéid staidéarthach agus fonn staidéir air, d'féadfadh sé feabhas mór a chur ar a oiliúnt is ar a eolas in aon tréimhse amháin thrí bliana. Fear óg agus spéis aige san loingseóireachht tá seans aige eolas a fháil ar an mairnéalacht a d'fhéadfadh a bheith fóintiúl dó ar ball dá mbíodh fonn air a bheith ina iascaire nó ina last-loingseóir.
Is ar éigean gur gá a rá anois nach ligtear isteach sna fórsaí chosanta ach fir a mbíonn dea-cháil agus dea-iompar orra agus ní h-isleófar an caighdeán ina dtaobh sin ar mhaithe le líonmhaireacht.
Tá saol an fhir óig san Arm le moladh chomh mór le saol de shórt ar bith eile. Tá an saidiúr ina shaoránach chomh measúil ionomóis le saoránach ar bith, agus da mbíodh saoránacht i gcontúirt sé an saidiúr a cúltaca agus a claí cosanta.
Tá muintir na tíre seo bródúil as a nArm. Is chun an tArm sin a dhéanamh chomh feidhmiúl, eifeachtúil agus is féidir atá airgead an Mheastacháin da iarraidh. Molaim don Dáil á.
This Estimate is for the sum of £9,051,164 gross and, after the deduction of Appropriations-in-Aid, £8,048,100 net, an increase of £1,158,060 over the net estimate for 1961/62. Towards the end of that year, there was a supplementary estimate for a token sum of £10 but that did not affect the position materially.
Deputies may find it helpful if, before proceeding to an analysis of the Estimate, I make some observations of a general nature on the work of my Department and of the Defence Forces and Civil Defence organisation during the financial year 1961-1962. Foremost in all our minds, I am sure, are the members of the Defence Forces who are serving with the United Nations in the Republic of the Congo. The policy of providing a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force in support of the United Nations mission there has been maintained by the Government during the past year, and the implementation of this policy has, from a national point of view, been the most important task of the Defence Forces.
Despite many difficulties at home, the Permanent Defence Force, from a very small strength, has supplied for overseas duties a minimum of one battalion. Indeed, in May of last year, as a result of a request from the United Nations for more troops, another unit was organised and sent to the Congo. The Defence Forces have also provided officers and other ranks for duty at UN Headquarters at Leopoldville. In round figures, this has meant that the Defence Forces have maintained a force of from 800 to 1,000 all ranks for overseas duties, and when I say that this represents a figure in the region of 10 per cent. of the entire permanent force, it will be seen how great, relatively, our efforts have been in fulfilling our responsibilities as a member of the United Nations. The UN Force in the Congo continued to be commanded by our Lieut. General Seán McKeown until the 31st March of this year.
It is pleasant to recall that no difficulty has been experienced by the Army authorities in obtaining the numbers of officers and other ranks required. Staffs at all levels and all Corps have ensured that, when a request is made by the United Nations to the Government, a sufficiency of all classes, line and technician, is available to fill the organisation. I know that much effort has been necessary to ensure that our personnel have left our shores properly trained and equipped for their tasks, and full credit must go to the staffs and Corps concerned.
Practically all of the service given by our units to the United Nations has been in the province of Katanga, where UN has been faced with some of its most difficult tasks. On several occasions, in pursuance of the policy laid down, our troops have been engaged in operations to restore and maintain order. It is gratifying to be told that these operations have been carried out with such skill, courage and restraint, and that our troops have earned much credit for themselves and their country. We have, unfortunately, suffered casualties in these operations and our sympathies must go out to the relatives of those officers and men who have made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of world peace.
Much valuable experience has been gained by officers and men of the Defence Forces from operations with the United Nations forces, and this experience will be a continuing source of benefit to us for years to come. I was very pleased when the former Chief of Staff, after his most recent visit to the troops in the Congo, reported to me on the outstanding work done by Irish Commanders and staffs, the very considerable status our troops have gained and their very high morale. I was doubly pleased when the present Chief of Staff and former UN Commander, on his return to duty here, confirmed all that I had already been told about our troops. I am confident that the next unit which will go to the Congo will be no whit less worthy of praise than its predecessors.
The conditions under which our units serve with the United Nations Force were improved considerably during the year. The United Nations agreed to pay for a tropical walkingout uniform, made here in Ireland, for officers and men; and a considerable quantity of equipment for messes and dining halls has been sent to the Congo. We are trying all the time to ensure that our forces in the Congo will have the best conditions possible.
Once again I am happy to pay tribute to the public-spirited activities of the many individuals and firms who have continued their work in organising and providing comforts for our troops overseas. These activities are very valuable in sustaining morale, and the fact that the good work has continued in respect of every contingent is in itself a tribute to the patriotism of the citizens concerned.
Neither must I let the opportunity pass without mention of our troops at home. On these has fallen the brunt of the normal staff work, training and administration of the Defence Forces. To them, the organisation, preparation and equipping of units for overseas duties have made an even greater demand on their time. Staffs and Corps have faced and solved these problems with a combination of skill and enthusiasm which has been most gratifying to experience. These problems included organisation and training, transportation of troops and stores and packaging of equipment, often at very awkward times and even during holiday periods. It is due to the unselfish efforts of those left behind that the normal running of the Defence Forces, and the preparation of troops, their despatch to UN missions and their reception when repatriated, have continued smoothly. I know that these efforts will be maintained so long as we continue to send troops on overseas duties.
Foremost amongst the home duties of the Defence Forces has been the continuing process of the integration of Regular units and those of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. Combined training of the staffs of integra ed units has been carried out at various levels, with a view to the welding of the two constituents into a working entity. During the year, new police and medical units of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil were raised. The strength of An Fórsa has been well maintained, although the continuous turnover of personnel does cause some worry. From the organisational point of view, most units of An Fórsa are fairly well up to strength but because of this turnover and the limited amount of training that can be done, the standard of training is not as high as we would wish.
These are difficulties inherent in any voluntary force and, despite them, unit and formation training improved considerably in the past year. Every effort continues to be made to improve the standard. Planning for mobilisation and use of the Defence Forces in emergency continues at all levels. A series of exercises covering Regular and Reserve forces was held during the year to practise mobilisation procedures and duties. These will be continued on a wider scale. A suitable amount of new equipment was secured during the year and it is hoped to supplement this in the coming year. We have not yet built up anything like full mobilisation stocks of defensive equipment, and proposed purchase for 1962/1963 represents only an instalment towards that end.
Not alone is the prestige of the Defence Forces high at present, but so also is morale. As from 1st November last, substantial increases in pay and allowances have been introduced and have met with a favourable reception. Improvements have been, and will continue to be, made in the conditions under which the soldier serves. Barracks continue to be improved in so far as financial considerations allow, and there has also been a great improvement in the housing situation.
I would like to be able to say that, in view of these developments, suitable recruits for the Permanent Defence Force have been coming forward in sufficient numbers, but that is not the position. There is no doubt that the pay of the Army now compares favourably with that in outside employment, and that the Army offers an attractive career to young men interested in an active life. The recent recruiting campaign did not succeed in bringing the non-commissioned strength up to the figure of 8,000 which is really the minimum figure needed for our current commitments. I ask all people of influence to encourage the idea of service, whether in the permanent Defence Force or in the Reserve components such as An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and An Slua Muiri. Otherwise it is inevitable that there will be gaps in our national defence position in the event of sudden emergency.
Deputies will be glad to learn that, during 1961/62 the normal complement of 55 boys between the ages of 15 and 17 years enlisted for Scoil Phrintisigh an Airm; that 34 boys between the ages of 16 and 18 were enlisted as Apprentice Mechanics in the Air Corps and 29 applicants between the ages of 17 and 28 as technicians in the Air Corps and Signal Corps. As well, 21 boys have been enlisted for training as bandsmen in Scoil Cheoil an Airm. All these specialised activities of the Army are particularly worthy of support and encouragement, because of the excellent careers which they make possible.
Twenty non-commissioned officers of the ranks of Sergeant and upwards have been assigned to a potential officers' course of a year's duration. Those who complete the course successfully will be commissioned as Second-Lieutenants to fill appointments as stores officers, administrative officers and assistant Quartermasters.
Since 1952, pilots for the Air Corps have been recrui ed solely through the medium of the Short Service Commission Scheme, which was initiated primarily for the purpose of providing an adequate number of pilots for the Reserve of Officers (First Line). With the expansion of Aer Lingus in recent years, these pilots as well as some Regular pilots of the Corps have been absorbed by that company, so that there is now a shortage of Regular Officer pilots. It is intended, on that account, to select ten of the Army Cadets appointed in 1961 for training as pilots af er they receive their commissions in 1963. In addition, and as an immediate step, six young permanent officers have been transferred to the Air Corps from other Corps to undergo training as pilots. The question of the training by the Air Corps of pilots for Aer Lingus is at present under consideration between Aer Lingus, the Department of Transport and Power and my Department.
In 1961, teams from Scoil Eachaiochta an Airm competed in nine international shows—at Dublin, London, Marseilles, Nice, Rome, Harrisburg, Washington, New York and Toronto. I am happy to say that at these shows they won 15 first, 19 second and 16 third prizes. Teams from An Scoil competed also at 19 provincial shows. The results achieved in 1961 show an improvement on those of the previous year, and I am sure that Deputies will wish the School continued success in 1962.
Throughout the year, the Naval Service provided fishery protection within the limit of its resources. For some months past, however, it has not been possible to have more than one corvette on fishery patrol duty at any one time because of a shortage of sea-going personnel to man an additional vessel. Every effort is being made to recruit the required personnel, and here again I would urge all who are in a position to help to do so.
The preparatory work in connection with the setting up of the Observer Corps, about which my predecessor spoke when introducing last year's Estimate, is in hands. The head-quarters staff, consisting of personnel of the Permanent Defence Force, has been assembled and is engaged in the preliminary work that must precede the recruitment and training of the Reserve element of the Corps.
From the Army I turn now to Civil Defence. One of the features of recent times has been that public interest in Civil Defence has manifested itself to an extent previously unequalled. For the greater part, this increased interest stemmed from events in the international sphere—namely, the recurrence of tension over Berlin since August last and the publicity given to the hazards of radioactivity resulting from the resumption of nuclear tests by the U.S.S.R. in September.
Whether as a result of this increased interest or of intensified activity on the part of local authorities or a combination of both, there has been an overall net increase (allowing for wastage) in the strength of the Civil Defence organisation of some 1,500, making the current strength approximately 7,600. These figures show that the previous rate of growth of the organisation has been maintained. Quite a number of the new recruits are in centres in which Civil Defence was organised last winter for the first time, and it is to be hoped that in such places those recruits will encourage many more to enrol. As matters stand, however, we have got to face the fact that the numbers in Civil Defence, even though they continue to grow, are still pitifully small in relation to the size of the problem that might have to be faced, and so, as I did when speaking about the Army, I urge all who can do so to lend their aid and encouragement to Civil Defence recruitment.
At the same time, I am confident that the measures now being taken to develop a control structure within each county and to organise the Warden Service in every parish and ultimately in every townland and street, will have its impact on recruitment even in outlying districts. The initiation by local authorities of arrangements for the control and organisation of the Civil Defence services at county level was, in my view, the most significant development which occurred during the year in relation to the organisation of Civil Defence.
These arrangements include special measures for the recruitment—by way of personal canvass and selection—of the large number of persons required for the Warden Service—from County Chief Warden down to the Patrol Wardens who would have a townland or a street as their responsibility. Deputies will recall that these arrangements were referred to by my predecessor in introducing last year's Estimate. He explained that the arrangements had been accepted in principle by the local authorities and he expressed his appreciation of the co-operation received from all concerned.
In regard to the implementation of the arrangements, I am pleased to say that, for the greater part, local authorities and their senior officers who have accepted certain personal obligations as heads of Services have faced up to their responsibilities in a most effective and realistic way. Already, the training of the persons nominated for the various key appointments has been begun by my Department at An Scoil Cosanta Sibhialta. In view of the large numbers to be trained, however, it will be a considerable time before a fullyeffective control organisation will be available. It is expected, nevertheless, that the nucleus of the Warden Service, on which the control organisation so much depends, will be well under way by the end of the present year. There is also great need to establish units of the Welfare and Casualty Services, and I am hopeful that once we get the Warden Service effectively organised in every parish, we will have achieved a significant breakthrough in the matter of organisation.
The second important organisational development which took place in the past year was the implementation of the first stage of the development of Civil Defence Regional Control— namely, that the Government have now decided that senior Civil Servants should be designated to act as Regional Civil Defence Controllers.
Another most important development was the assignment to full time Civil Defence duties of eight military officers of the rank of Commandant— one to each group of three or more counties comprising a Civil Defence region. This development was also foreshadowed by my predecessor last year. While these officers have specific responsibility for planning and study of regional control, one of their primary functions is to give the fullest possible advice and assistance in civil defence matters to the local authorities within their regions. They will work in co-operation with County Managers and other officers of the local authority and will continue to be paid in full by my Department. They have already been only six months in the field, but in that short time it has become abundantly clear that their presence and the advice and assistance which they provide to the local authorities have given a tremendous fillip to organisation and recruitment at local level. Having said that, I now want to make it absolutely clear that the assignment of these officers to Civil Defence work locally, and the success which they are making of it, is not in any way to be regarded as weakening the concept of local authority responsibility for Civil Defence, particularly in the matter of recruiting and training.
On occasions during the year the idea has been mooted that the Army would take over responsibility for Civil Defence. To some extent, that idea may have arisen because of the assignment of the eight military officers to duties as Regional Civil Defence Officers; it may also have derived from the terms of a reply given by me to a question in the House on the 16th November last. On that occasion, I indicated that—
(1) a plan to cope with a civil defence situation, including particularly the hazard of radioactive fall-out, had been prepared and was in the process of being implemented;
(2) pending the implementation of this plan in an effective way, a special interim stand-by plan has been prepared;
(3) this interim plan consists of a series of improvisations aimed at making the fullest use of the Civil Defence resources available now and linking them up with existing organisations such as Oglaigh na hÉireann, An Garda Síochána, certain other State Departments and semi-State Organisations and Voluntary Aid Societies.
Underlying this plan is the presumption that if a Civil Defence situation arose with little warning now or at any time in the immediate future, before the Civil Defence organisation has been fully developed, all the existing resources of the States would have to be utilised to the fullest extent practicable. It can be accepted that the Army, by virtue of its organisation and training, would have an important part to play in any Civil Defence operations, provided, of course, that at the particular time it would not be required to discharge its primary role of military operations in defence of the State. Civil Defence must, however, be regarded as essentially civilian, and in many important respects, for example, the Warden and Welfare Services, local in character.
The general increase in Civil Defence activity which has occurred in the past year and which is expected to be maintained during the year ahead inevitably entails additional expenditure—both by the State and by the local authorities—and this is reflected in the provision for Civil Defence which, at £250,396, is £87,121 higher than last year's figure of £163,275. I will deal in detail with the provisions later on, but at this stage I would particularly like to mention certain expenditure for which provision is made for the first time— namely, £50,000, included in the provision for Grants, in respect of County and Sub-County Control Centres and £10,000, included under Regional Controls, etc., for Regional Control Centres.
These Control Centres would be set up in buildings of solid construction especially protected and equipped to enable the control element of Civil Defence—at sub-county, county and regional level—to continue to function under operational Civil Defence conditions, especially if the country were contaminated by radioactive fall-out. The building required for use as a County Control Centre would have to be located in or near the County town, while the Sub-County Control Centres would be located in the principal towns. It is intended that, as far as possible, existing local authority premises should be adapted for use as County and Sub-County Control Centres and that in peacetime the building so adapted should be used also for Civil Defence training purposes. What we have in mind is that where there is, say, a large basement underneath the present County Council premises, it should be adapted as a Control Centre for operational purposes and should be used also for peace-time training purposes.
It is essential that every county should tackle as a matter of urgency the question of providing these County and Sub-County Control Centres. As a first step, my Department is asking local authorities to examine the matter immediately and report as to the availability of premises which would conform to the general requirements for County and Sub-County Control Centres. Following this, it is intended that the buildings tentatively selected should be inspected by a Technical Officer of my Department, in the light of whose advice plans and estimates for the work involved in each case would be submitted to my Department for approval. Until such plans and estimates are available, it would not be possible to estimate the overall cost in respect of these Control Centres, but it is expected to be fairly substantial, possibly of the order of £750,000. Seventy per cent. would be met by the State by way of grant. Nobody regrets more than I that we should be confronted by expenditure of this kind and of this magnitude, but it becomes an inescapable necessity because of the terrible dangers which would arise in the event of another world war.
Because of the heavy burden which the provision of these Controls would impose on local authorities, it is proposed to vary the existing procedure whereby grant is payable one year in arrear and, instead, to provide for advances of grant on foot of work completed. Such grant payments in 1962/63 will be met from the provision of £50,000 I have mentioned. The balance of the expenditure will, of course, have to be met in coming financial years.
As regards the Regional Control Centres, Deputies will recall that it was indicated by my predecessor last year that, for purposes of overall Civil Defence Control, it was necessary to establish a superstructure linking local controls with the Central Government and that, to this end, it was necessary to establish eight Civil Defence Regions. For operational purposes, it is necessary that protected and equipped Regional Control Centres should be provided, and it is proposed to start on this work as soon as possible in 1962/63. Again, it is not possible to estimate accurately the overall cost of these Regional Control Centres, but it is expected to be about £50,000, inclusive of equipment. As I have said, £10,000 is being provided for 1962/63, and the balance of the expenditure will arise in future financial years.
Having concluded my general survey, I should now like to deal with the individual subheads of the Estimate which show marked increases or decreases in relation to last year's provisions. First I should say that the pay, allowances and maintenance of the Permanent Defence Force account, as usual, for the major portion of the Estimate. The provisions in these respects are spread over a number of subheads and amount to almost £5,460,000 or 61 per cent. of the net Estimate.
As regards the Permanent Defence Force, the Estimate continues to be framed on the basis of the full peace establishment of 1,359 officers and 11,607 men, with deductions made in respect of the numbers by which the actual strength is likely to be below establishment over the year. The net average strength for which the Estimate provides is 1,145 officers, 124 cadets and 7,750 men of all corps. It is our hope that, in the course of the year, we may reach the desired figure of 8,000 other ranks.
The increases in pay and allowances to which I referred at the outset are estimated to cost £538,000 during 1962/63. They are provided for in Subheads A—Pay of Officers, Cadets, N.C.O.s and Privates; B—Marriage Allowance; E—Pay of Officers of the Medical Corps; P2—Naval Service; and Y1—the Reserve Defence Force. Except in regard to Y1, to which I will be referring later, I do not think that it is necessary for me to say anything more about these Subheads.
There is an increase of £7,746 in Subhead A3—Bounties, Rewards and Gratuities, and this is explained by the fact that it has now been decided that any non-commissioned officer or man who extends his service after three, six or nine years' service, will receive a gratuity of £25 on the occasion of each such extension. It is our hope that this will be an incentive for trained men to continue in service rather than to go to the Reserve or to leave the Army entirely.
The increases of £81,877 in Subhead C—Pay of Civilians attached to Units —is attributable almost entirely to increases in wages. Higher rates of allowances are also partly responsible for the increase of £54,212 in Subhead G—Subsistence and Other Allowances —but mainly the increase is due to the sum of £44,700 provided for allowances in respect of the children of officers. These allowances in their present form were introduced in February, 1961, but specific provision was not made for them in the Vote for 1961/62. They have been met from the Vote generally.
Subhead J—Mechanical Transport —shows an over-all increase of £13,040 as compared with 1961/62. The provision of £85,320 for capital expenditure on vehicles is £11,940 higher than the corresponding provision last year. This is accounted for by a net increase of £13,940 in the provision for the purchase of new vehicles for the Army, which is partially offset by a decrease of £2,000 on repayable advances to officers for the purchase of motor cars for use on duty with An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, An Slua Muirí and An Cór Breathnadóirí. The remaining £1,100 arises from increased vehicle maintenance costs.
The decrease of £16,699 in Subhead K—Provisions and Allowances in Lieu —is attributable to the reduced strength. It has also been assumed that a contingent of battalion strength will be on overseas duty throughout the year. The provisioning of our troops in the Congo is a United Nations responsibility, and the cost does not have to be borne by the Vote for Defence.
The provision in Subhead M for uniform clothing for N.C.O.s and Privates, £148,500, shows a decrease of £6,865 as compared with the corresponding provision of £155,365 last year. While a decrease of some £17,500 as compared with last year might have been expected, as about 250 fewer men are being catered for, the necessity to purchase increased supplies of ground sheets and reservists' kits, as well as increased costs, have resulted in a reduction of only £6,865.
The question of introducing a standard uniform of new and improved design for members of Na BuanÓglaigh and An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil has been under examination for some time, but no final decision in the matter has yet been reached. It will be appreciated that a matter of this kind requires very thorough examination from the points of view of both design and financial implications.
There is an increase of £67,966 in Subhead O—General Stores. The principal increases are £28,871 for signal equipment, £9,088 for camp equipment, £18,452 for aircraft, etc., £2,626 for workshop equipment and £14,174 for radiac equipment. These increased provisions are partially offset by an increase of £8,000 in the amount deducted in respect of stores ordered but not delivered. In connection with radiac equipment, I should explain that the 1961/1962 provision of £20,505 was included under the heading "Educational and Training Equipment". It will be seen that it has a separate heading this year, as the supplies now required will, to a large extent, be operational as well as for training purposes.
Increased provisions for signal equipment and radiac equipment are considered necessary as these items would be particularly useful in maintaining communications and saving life in the event of hostilities involving destruction of telephonic communication and the presence of radio-active fall-out. The increase under the heading of aircraft, etc., is due mainly to the necessity for the replacement of the Dove aircraft which crashed at Shannon in January, 1961, but portion of the provision for a new aircraft, £40,307, is offset by a decrease of £19,690 in the provision for radio aids at Baldonnel. The increased provision for camp equipment is due to the need for replacing sandbags and worn-out cookers.
In Subhead P—Defensive Equipment—there is an increase of £300,949 as compared with the original 1961/62 Estimate, and of £169,949 as compared with the 1961/62 Estimate plus the additional expenditure covered by the recent Supplementary Estimate. The increase is due chiefly to proposed increased purchases of light weapons and replacement of armoured vehicles and ammunition.
As I have said already, Subhead P1 —Civil Defence—shows a net increase of £87,121 as compared with the amount provided in 1961/62. I have already dealt with the question of regional, county and sub-county controls, which account for £60,000 of this increase. There is also a new provision of £9,000 for the purchase of sirens for use for warning purposes in the cities and larger towns. As well, there is an increase of £26,298 in the provision for equipment and stores, and an increase of some £3,500 arising from the Government's decision during the past year to increase the rate of grant payable to Local Authorities in respect of expenditure incurred by them on Civil Defence as from the first of April, 1961, from 60 per cent. to 70 per cent., the maximum authorised by the Air Raid Precautions Acts.
Part of the increase is due to the necessity to repeat sums amounting to £14,500 which were included in the 1961/62 Vote for five ambulances and a mobile control unit for training, the delivery of which could not be secured during that financial year. The provision covers further purchases of fire appliances, ambulances, radio instruments, sets of special manpack rescue equipment and uniforms, as well as additional mobile feeding unit vehicles. All this equipment is intended primarily for training volunteers and is being purchased by instalments. The bulk of it is being distributed to local authorities throughout the country and it will, of course, be suitable for actual operational purposes should the need arise.
The increase of £9,403 in Subhead R—Fuel, Light, etc.—is due to the increased cost of fuel.
Subhead S—Barrack Maintenance and New Works—shows an increase of £10,160. This increase arises under the heading of barrack maintenance.
The erection of a new girls' school to accommodate 448 pupils at Campa an Churraigh is proceeding and is expected to be completed in 1962/63. In recent years, 162 new houses have been erected for married soldiers—88 in Dublin; 30 at the Curragh; 20 in Athlone; and 24 in Cork. Provision was made in the Estimates for 1961/ 62 for the erection of eight Soldiers' Married Quarters at Naas, but it was not possible to commence this work until very late in the financial year. The work will be completed during 1962/63, and a decision will then be taken, in the light of the circumstances existing at the time, as to where the next quota of houses will be erected.
There is an increase of £6,320 in Subhead T—Military Lands. This is partly attributable to increased wages and partly to proposed acquisitions. In connection with this subhead, I may mention that, as Deputies are aware, the Curragh of Kildare Act, 1961, permits of the inclosure by fencing of parts of the Curragh, subject to the prior voluntary surrender and extinguishment of a number of grazing rights commensurate with the area to be inclosed. As stated by my predecessor during the Second Stage of the Bill, the Racing Authorities have been concerned for a considerable time over the impairment of race tracks and training gallops due to sheep grazing. Arrangements are at present being made for the inclosure, subject to the provisions of the Act, of some 800 acres of the Curragh, embracing the race tracks and certain training gallops.
While the increase in Subhead V— Barrack Services—is only £2,110, I take advantage of it to say again that attention continues to be given to the improvement of amenities for soldiers living in barracks. For some years past steel chairs and plastic-topped tables have been replacing timber forms and trestle tables in dining halls, and steel wardrobes are being provided in billets, as well as chairs, bedside lockers, bedside rugs, writing tables, and so on.
The provision for Cumann Croise Deirege na h-Éireann—£16,450—is contained in Subhead Y2. It shows a reduction of £4,000 as compared with 1961/62. The reduction is entirely in the amount required for the Emergency Relief Fund, which is estimated at £2,000 as compared with £6,000 for 1961/62. The provision for the normal activities of the Society is £10,000, that for the White Russian refugees from North China is £4,000, and the State contribution to the International Committee is £450. These three amounts are the same as in 1961/62.
The Society continues to work in various spheres. In the field of normal activity, recruiting, training and instruction are being pressed forward. The Society is in the process of increasing its fleet of ambulances and improving certain premises. The work in connection with the White Russian refugees from North China continues at Naomh Aindrias. In the field of relief, the Society contributed £1,000 during the year for Angola and it has launched an appeal for help for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. This campaign has the full support and approval of the Government. Deputies will be already aware, from various authoritative statements made on the subject, that hunger and famine are widespread in many lands, and literally hundreds of millions of men, women and children live in the shadow of death from these and associated evils. The Freedom from Hunger Campaign is a genuine work of charity that transcends national boundaries. I commend it strongly to the Irish people as a cause worthy of their most generous support. I should like to thank the Society for its very great efforts in all the fields of humanitarian relief.
The increase of £40,580 in Subhead Y—Office of the Minister—is almost entirely due to the pay increases received by the Civil Service staff of the Department. Pay increases also account partly for the increase of £35,750 in Subhead Y1—The Reserve —but there are also other factors such as the increased cost of rations and increased allowances. The provision for clothing for members of An Fórsa. Cosanta Áitiúil, An Slua Muirí and An Cór Breathnadóirí shows an increase of £9,043 over the corresponding provision in 1961/62. This is accounted for by a decrease in stocks in hand and increases in prices.
The only other point I think I need mention is that, as from the beginning of the financial year, 1962/63, expenses in connection with the Offences against the State Acts are the responsibility of the Minister for Justice, and no provision is made, therefore, in the Vote for Defence.
I hope that I have given Deputies an adequate explanation of the Estimate. I shall be very glad, when concluding, to supply any additional information desired.