Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Matt Carthy TD, has said that Budget 2024 marks the “continued neglect of our Defence Forces under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments”.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The Irish Defence Forces are at a critical juncture.
“Due to the failures of successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments, there is a significant retention and recruitment crisis. Each year that this government have been in office, more people have left the Defence Forces than have joined.
“The Commission on the Defence Forces set out a need for additional capital expenditure of €246.5 million each year over ten years in order to meet Level of Ambition 2.
“Last year government missed that target by €70million. Today, they missed it again, by another €70million. The attempts by government to spin what is a dismal Budget from a Defence perspective are disingenuous in the extreme.
“The single most important thing that can be done to address the retention and recruitment crisis is the application of the working time directive to the Defence Forces. But this Budget makes no provision to either collect the data necessary or to implement the Directive next year.
“Sinn Féin wants to build our Defence Forces to protect Irish neutrality and sovereignty; monitor and defend our skies and seas; and safeguard our people from modern threats, including Cyber and hybrid attacks.
“That won’t happen without investment and clearly it won’t happen while Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in government.”