The report of the Commission of the Defence Forces published yesterday has been welcomed by Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister Martin Heydon.

“I welcome the publication of this long awaited report on the future and strength of our Defence Forces and I thank all those on the Commission who worked on it.  I hope the report will provide a platform for a real debate about the Defence Force Ireland needs as a modern European country and clear political decisions as to its future funding.

“In the report the Commission repeatedly draws attention to the need for these decisions to ensure clarity and consistency between stated policy, level of ambition, capability and funding and this is strongly linked to proposals for transformative change in Defence Force structure, culture and people management.

“This is a substantial report running to 224 pages (including appendices) and 69 recommendations. It recommends significant changes for the Defence Forces and Defence provision in Ireland, covering high level Defence Forces structures, defence capabilities, organisation culture and human resources, the Reserve Defence Force and funding.

“Defence Minister Simon Coveney will now seek the views of other key stakeholders and return to Government with a high-level action plan, which will take around four months., This will include discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the establishment of a permanent pay review body, reflecting the unique nature of military service.

“Since 2015 over €806 million has been invested in the renewal, upgrade and acquisition of military equipment and infrastructure. Multi-annual capital funding of €566 million has been allocated to Defence out to 2025 under the National Development Plan, with €141 million provided in 2022

“We in Kildare know the importance and value of our Defence Forces and the proud tradition of the many past and present members who have served our Country.  This report can now be a catalyst for changes that will improve conditions and secure a stronger future for the Irish Defence Forces.” concluded Minister Heydon.