The junior minister tasked with the Defence Forces has said it is “worrying” that an internal military report critical of his department’s Budget 2019 allocation was leaked.
Paul Kehoe said he was “disappointed” at the leaking of the analysis of the budget for next year, which described spending on the Defence Forces as “stagnant”.
He was responding to Fianna Fáil defence spokesman, Jack Chambers, who said Mr Kehoe was the ‘Scrooge’ of the Government when securing funding.
Mr Chambers said the document highlighted how the spending on defence, as a percentage of GDP, will be lower in 2019.
“All the key metrics point to a reduced defence budget in real terms, and in this internal document, and this is from the military authorities themselves. They said an evaluation utilising a number of key statistics would indicate that defence spending is reducing, or remaining stagnant, in real terms,” Mr Chambers said.
How can you, as minister stand, over a stagnant budgetary allocation, when we have such a recruitment and retention crisis and issues around morale?
"It’s important that the mandarins in your department secure greater allocations from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform,” he said.
Mr Kehoe said describing civil servants as ‘mandarins’ was “total ignorance”.
He said the report refers to a 5% increase in spending in 2019, up €48m from this year, and that “the conclusions reached by the document are totally contradicted by its own analysis”.
“It’s actually quite worrying that this internal document leaked out of the Defence Forces, presumably meant to be one of the most secure places, and I’m actually disappointed that an internal document would be released out into the public domain,” he said.