The Government has committed to new funding for Defence Forces recruitment, equipment and pay increases every year until 2028.
As The Irish Times reports, it comes after ministers approved proposals from Minister for Defence Simon Coveney at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Mr Coveney’s proposals, based on the report of the Commission on the Defence Forces which was published earlier this year, will mean that defence funding will rise from the current level of €1.1 billion to at least €1.5 billion by 2028.
The Government said the move represents a steep change in defence funding, and will lead to a larger, better-equipped and better-paid military.
Amongst the commitments is expected to be a new radar system, as well as significant investment in military hardware across the three branches of the Defence Forces – army, naval service and air corps.
In February, the Commission on the Defence Forces reported that they were not currently capable of credibly defending the country against attack, and put forward various proposals for increased funding.
The commission put forward three “levels of ambition” (LOAs) for defence spending. Mr Coveney is understood to have recommended the second level of ambition but will accelerate the timelines for extra funding from 2030 to 2028.
Under this level, an extra 2,000 personnel, both civil and military, will be recruited over and above the current establishment of 9,500. Sources said work had already commenced on this.
In addition, improved an improved regime of allowances will the payment of the military service allowances (MSA) to the rank of all three-star private/able seaman personnel.
Personnel are also expected to begin receiving increments immediately. The Defence Forces will also be allowed to enhance the seagoing service commitment scheme.
It is also expected that there will be a new office for veteran’s affairs and a new naval diving school.