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Fine Gael in Government will transform the Defence Forces

And deliver the largest increase in the Defence budget in the history of the State

Young people in Waterford should consider career opportunities in the Defence Forces

Fine Gael in Government is moving to transform the Defence Forces and deliver the largest increase in the Defence budget in the history of the State, Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has said

Senator Cummins was speaking as the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, today announced that the Government has approved a move to ‘Level of Ambition 2’ (LOA2), as set out in the capability framework devised by the Commission on the Defence Forces.

Senator Cummins said, “Minister Coveney’s announcement today will result in the Defence budget rising from €1.1 billion to €1.5 billion, in 2022 prices, by 2028, the largest increase in Defence funding in the history of the State.

“My party, Fine Gael, is proud to have founded the institutions of the State and we will always work to defend and protect them. We are determined to achieve the substantial transformation and investment in recruitment and equipment as recommended by the Commission on the Defence Forces.

“I commend my colleague Minister Coveney for his tireless work to bring this to fruition. He has engaged in extensive consultation with ministerial colleagues and with a range of other stakeholders, including representative associations since his appointment as Minister for Defence.

“The move to LOA2 will allow for the immediate commencement of planning for military radar capabilities, including primary radar, and funding for this is being prioritised.

“Moving to LOA2 will mean opportunities to develop our defence capabilities and joint procurement offered by participation in PESCO and the European Defence Agency. It is less than a week since the Dáil approved Minister Coveney’s proposal for the Defence Forces to join four new practical PESCO projects centred on cyber threats, disaster relief capability, maritime mine countermeasures and Special Ops medical training.

“The transformation of the Defence Forces will require an additional 2,000 personnel (civil and military) over and above the current establishment of 9,500. Work has already commenced on this with the recently announced recruitment campaign, ‘BE MORE’. I will keep people updated on this campaign and I hope that young people in Waterford will look to the Defence Forces as a promising and rewarding career choice.

“Government has noted the urgent need for HR and cultural transformation within the Defence Forces. Minister Coveney has requested military management to progress, as a matter of priority, an open recruitment process to fill a number of new positions including two civilian posts of Head of Transformation and Head of Strategic HR to drive this. They will report directly to the Chief of Staff and will be supported by civil-military teams to include the senior rank posts of Gender Advisor and Digital Transformation Officer who will lead a digital transformation programme.

“We are also about to see revitalisation of the Reserve Defence Force, another fantastic career option for young people in Waterford. Minister Coveney has announced the establishment of a new Office of Reserve Affairs with the priority objective of developing a regeneration plan for the Reserve Defence Force.

“The Commission also made a number of recommendations concerning existing pay structures, and I welcome that the Government will immediately progress the pay structure measures, including, removal of the requirement for a Private 3 Star/Able Seaman to ‘mark time’ for the first three years at that rank, and payment of the full rate of Military Service Allowance (MSA) applicable to the rank of all Private 3 Star/Able Seaman personnel”, Senator John Cummins concluded.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney added: “In line with all elements that fall within the scope of Representation, implementation of such recommendations will be the subject of consultation with Defence Forces’ Representative Associations.”

“The implementation and oversight structures that are set out in the HLAP are significant, and a detailed implementation plan is to be produced before the end of this year.”


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