The total gross provision for the defence sector for 2019 is €1.007 billion, which is an increase of over €60 million or 6.4% on the 2018 provision. This comprises €758 million for Vote 36 - Defence, an increase of over €50 million, and €249 million for Vote 35 - Army Pensions, an increase of €10 million. Overall, approximately 77% of the defence sector provision relates to pay and pensions.
The 2019 provision for pay in Vote 36 is €529 million, which provides for the pay and allowances of over 10,400 public service employees, including 9,500 Permanent Defence Force personnel, 550 civilian employees and 355 civil servants. The Government has ensured full funding has been provided for 2019 for the target strength for the Permanent Defence Force of 9,500.
Pay is continuing to increase in accordance with public sector pay agreements. Following on from increases paid under the Lansdowne Road agreement, further increases were paid in 2018 under the Public Sector Stability Agreement 2018-2020, with additional increases due in 2019. The allocation includes €6.3 million to meet the additional commitments for 2019. Further increases in pay are scheduled for 2020. In accordance with the provisions of Public Services Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the Government has tasked the Public Service Pay Commission with conducting a more comprehensive examination of recruitment and retention challenges in the Defence Sector. The work of the commission is ongoing. The Government will give due consideration to the findings and recommendations that arise from the work of the commission.
The non-pay allocation, including capital, for 2019 for Vote 36 is €229 million and this provides for essential and ongoing Defence Forces standing and operational costs, as well as the provision of essential procurement and upgrading of defensive equipment and infrastructure. The non-pay allocation has increased by €31 million over the 2018 level.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
In accordance with the national development plan, NDP, the capital allocation for defence has risen to €106 million for 2019, an increase of €29 million. The NDP provides for a total of €541 million over the period 2018 to 2022. This level of capital funding will allow the defence organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement and infrastructural development across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service, as identified and prioritised in the defence White Paper, and builds on the significant investment programme over recent years.
The Government is committed to ensuring that the Defence Forces built infrastructure continues to be enhanced and modernised and to that end the defence Vote makes provision for increased investment in this area, with over €28 million allocated for 2019, an increase of almost €5 million or 20.6%. I have also secured an additional €10 million for Vote 35 for 2019. The allocation of €249 million will provide for the payment of pension entitlements to former members of the Permanent Defence Force and certain dependants.
The allocation of over €1 billion for the defence sector for 2019 emphasises the importance attached by the Government to ensuring that the Defence Forces have the resources necessary to deliver on all roles assigned by Government, both at home and overseas and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the Defence Forces have the capabilities necessary to deliver on all their assigned roles.