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Defence | Addressing issues raised in Defence Force report

To ask the Minister for Defence the steps that have been taken to address the issues raised in the recent report on the Defence Forces; the extent to which the report is likely to be embraced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Commission on the Defence Forces was established on foot of a commitment in the Programme for Government, and I, as Minister for Defence, welcomed the publication of the report of the Commission on 9th February last.  The Commission has undertaken a significant body of work, encompassing wide-ranging terms of reference.  The report contains 69 main recommendations with a large number of sub recommendations totalling 130 individual recommendations.  It recommends significant changes for the Defence Forces and Defence provision in Ireland. It covers high level Defence Forces’ structures, defence capabilities, organisation, culture and human resources, the Reserve Defence Force and funding.

Given the significant recommendations contained in the Report, detailed consideration of these recommendations has been undertaken over the last four months by my Department and the Defence Forces.  This has involved significant inter-departmental consultation, and I and my officials have engaged with key stakeholders, including the Representative Associations, to ascertain their views. Following this engagement, I intend to return to Government with a proposed response to the Commission’s recommendations and a high-level action plan before the Summer recess.

Providing for the Defence of the State is a fundamental role of any Government and I firmly believe that this is an opportunity to have a mature debate around the type of defence provision that we require and I am very much open to such a discussion.  



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