800 recruits to bolster Defence Forces
More than 800 recruits are being taken into the Defence Forces in the coming year to push up the overall strength of the military to the authorised figure of 9,500.
Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe said last night that recruitment would be a key priority in 2017, with funding allocated for a "significant" intake of personnel.
A general service recruitment campaign is targeted at employing 692 personnel, while it is also planned to build on this year's figure of 97 officers - the highest cadet intake in the history of the organisation. The remainder of the recruits will consist of apprentice aircraft technicians.
The combined budget for 2017 is €992m, including €230m for army pensions.
It represents an operational increase of €10m, which Mr Kehoe (pictured inset) says will allow the Defence Forces to deliver on their operational outputs, at home and overseas.
It provides for pay and allowances for up to 9,500 permanent Defence Forces personnel, 550 civilian employees and 350 civil servants, with funding of over €2m for the Reserve Defence Forces.
Capital spending will include the purchase of armoured logistical vehicles for overseas missions, further development of the armoured personnel carrier fleet, replacement of Air Corps craft and the replacement of vessels in the Naval Service flotilla.
Ongoing investment in infrastructure includes building projects at Cathal Brugha barracks in Dublin; Kilkenny; Limerick, Curragh; Haulbowline, Cork; Athlone and the equestrian stables at McKee barracks in Dublin.
Mr Kehoe said €199m had already been invested in strengthening naval capabilities with the delivery of LÉ Samuel Beckett in 2014, LÉ James Joyce last year and LÉ William Butler Yeats, which will be commissioned on Monday.
An additional ship of a similar class to previous purchases is due to be delivered in 2018 at a cost of €67m, of which €30m would be provided in 2017.