Issues affecting the Defence Forces

I spoke in the Dáil today with Taoiseach, Micheál Martin and raised a number of issues relating to the Defence Forces.
🔹 I thanked the Taoiseach for his personal intervention to ensure that all peacekeeping troops receive the Covid-19 vaccine prior to deploying on a 6-month tour of duty.
🔹 I raised the Defence Budget to establish how much is actually returned, unspent each year to the Central Exchequer as figures differ from different sources.
🔹 Asked about the possibility of establishing a standing arrangement where the UN portion of the appropriations-in-aid is ringfenced and returned to the Defence Forces via supplementary estimate.
🔹 Highlighted the need for all of the Defence Budget to be spent this year by the Department of Defence and preferably none returned to the Central Exchequer. This money is desperately needed in the Defence Forces and all of it should be spent for its intended purpose.
Response from the Taoiseach included below👇