Independent TD highlights disappointment with the Defence Budget for 2022

In the Dáil this week, Independent TD for Kildare South and former Army Ranger, Deputy Cathal Berry highlighted his disappointment and frustration with the Defence Budget for 2022.

Speaking in relation to the matter, Cathal Berry TD commented ‘There is not enough money in the Defence Vote that was announced in the Budget. Even in a normal year it would not be enough, but particularly this year it’s certainly not enough with the Commission on the Defence Forces publishing its report in just seven weeks’ time. There will be a requirement for a Supplementary Defence Budget Estimate in January if there is any hope of implementing the recommendations of the Commission. It is an absolute must.’

‘The overseas development aid budget is almost as big as the defence budget currently. It’s highly unusual that we actually give more to international charities than we do to our own Defence Forces. It’s ironic that we then rely on the charity of other nation states to fly our troops around the world and look after and sustain them in theatre, which is certainly not a good look and is very demoralising from a morale perspective.’

Highlighting issues in relation to the Irish Naval Service, Deputy Berry stated, ‘The budget provides for an extra 800 Gardaí and additional civilian support staff, which is a good thing, but there is no mention of the guards of the sea, the members of our Naval Service. I visited the Naval Service only last Friday. There are absolutely no improvements planned in that area. The service is unable to patrol our home waters and the high seas, however there is no financial package available to improve its lot. It is in desperate need of assistance to address the crewing crisis and get our ships back to sea.’

Deputy Berry concluded, ‘Minister Michael McGrath has said he is looking forward to receiving the report of the Commission on the Defence Forces so that he can engage with the process. We have had enough process at this stage. We have had five years of process. We need product, delivery and outcome.’