Wednesday, 6 November 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
74. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which funds accruing from the disposal of decommissioned military installations after closure in 1998 have been utilised to improve facilities and equipment for the Permanent Defence Force; the way in which such funds have been expended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20566/02]
121. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence his plans to spend moneys accruing from the sale of the military installations which he closed in 1998, with particular reference to the intention at that time to utilise such funds to augment and improve existing military services, installations and equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20851/02]
Receipts from the sale of properties surplus to military requirements are treated as extra Exchequer receipts with a corresponding increase in expenditure under the Defence Vote. This expenditure is additional to the normal level of investment in equipment and infrastructure. Five of the six barracks, the closure of which was announced in 1998, have been sold or are in the process of being sold. A number of other properties have been identified as surplus to military requirements. The total revenue from these sales is expected to be about €100 million and it is expected that the bulk of the revenue will be received by 2003.
In anticipation of the receipt of revenue from property sales, substantial additional money has been provided in the Defence Estimate in recent years. This has resulted in an unprecedented level of investment in equipment and infrastructure in the Defence Forces. A total of €230 million has been invested in equipment since 1997 and the White Paper on Defence allows for an unprecedented €320 million investment programme in equipment and infrastructure over the next decade. This programme will ensure that Ireland has a modern, sustainable defence organisation, which is second to none, with the depth and flexibility to respond to future demands.
Substantial programmes of investment are taking place in the Army, the Air Corps and the Naval Service. The initial contract for the supply of armoured personnel carriers to the Defence Forces is complete and all 40 carriers have been delivered to the Curragh Camp by the Swiss firm Mowag. Under the contract, we have the option of purchasing further APCs from Mowag and this option is under active consideration. There has been significant investment on new vehicles including specialist transport cargo vehicles, deployed to KFOR, and on new troop carrying vehicles such as 4x4s, and ¾-tonne trucks. Over €13 million has been expended on new tactical VHF radios for the Defence Forces in recent years. The acquisition of eight training aircraft for the Air Corps is regarded as a top priority by the Minister. The tender competition is progressing well and the Minister is optimistic that a contract will be in place before the end of the year.
The second new ship for the Naval Service, LE Niamh, which is a sister ship of LE Róisín, was commissioned into the Naval Service in September 2001. Like LE Róisín, the new ship cost over €25 million and is proving to be a tremendous asset to the Naval Service in carrying out its roles. With regard to infrastructure, approximately €112 million was spent on a capital building programme between 1997 and 2001. Furthermore, another €42 million has been provided for further capital works in 2002, making a total of €154 million. In addition, almost €50 million has been or will be spent on non-capital maintenance works between 1997 and 2002.
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