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Sunday 22 September 2019

Internal document compiled by Defence Forces suggests funding has been reduced

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe Photo: Steve Humphreys
Defence Minister Paul Kehoe Photo: Steve Humphreys
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

AN INTERNAL document compiled by the Defence Forces on foot of Budget 2019 has suggested their funding has actually been reduced.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe has been forced to reject accusations that he is the “Scrooge of Government” on foot of the revelations.

The document acknowledges that increased spending of €48m for the Defence Forces was announced on Budget Day – but says the amount of money available is “reducing or remaining stagnant in real terms”.

Officials reached this conclusion after using “a number of key statistics” relating to economic growth. They also compared the finance made available to Defence with other departments.

Fianna Fáil’s defence spokesman Jack Chambers told the Minister: “You’re the scrooge of Government when it comes to allocations and securing funding for the military across this State”.

Mr Kehoe rejected the claims, saying it was “actually quite worrying that this internal document leaked out of the Defence Forces, presumably meant to be one of the most secure places”.

“I am quite happy with the budget I negotiated,” he told the Dáil.

The report referenced by Mr Chambers noted how Defence fared poorly compared to An Garda Síochána where funding has been made available for 800 new recruits.

“Similarly, overseas aid has been increased by €110m in Budget 2019,” the document states.

“You’ve secured the lowest percentage relative increase to any other department,” Mr Chambers said, adding that “the Mandarins” in Mr Kehoe’s department should work on getting a great allocation.

The Minister took “great umbrage” at civil servants being called Mandarins and said it was “total ignorance to do so”.

He said the internal military documents “are completely contradicted by its own analysis”.

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