1. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20687/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Deputy Jack Chambers: I echo the Leas-Cheann Comhairle’s welcome to the delegation.
My question is to ask the Minister of State at the Department of Defence if he will review the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces and if he will make a statement on the matter. As the Minister of State knows, we had the first southern brigade headquarters in Cork, the second eastern headquarters in Dublin and the fourth western headquarters in Athlone. That consolidation was done on the basis of claimed e...

26. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2012 restructuring of the Defence Forces will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20385/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As part of a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, a decision was taken to consolidate the three understrength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. The decision was taken because it was clear that the previous three-brigade structure was no longer viable, particularly when compared to international norms. Key aspects of the reorganisation included the consolidation of understrength units into a smaller ...

45. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the fact that the 2012 reorganisation of the Defence Forces has meant many personnel have much longer commutes to work, which is a strain on them and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43994/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The current Defence Forces organisational structures have now been in place for almost five years and followed a series of barrack closures (which continued the a rationalisation agenda initiated by previous Governments). The re-organisation of the Defence Forces resulted in a fundamental restructuring of Army Formations and Units across the country including a number of operational posts. This and previous barrack closures we...

67. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will review the decision to disestablish the 4th Western Brigade and the implications arising from the reduction in the number of Army brigades from three to two; if none of the three Army brigade commanders was consulted prior to the report that recommended the decision to reduce the number of Army brigades being lodged with them in 2012; and the way in which, in the five years since this decision was made, roster duties to be performed in Dublin requires the daily rotation of military units in Dundalk, Athlone and Donegal. (Question 44024/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The current Defence Forces organisational structures have now been in place for almost five years. The basis for the current structures was a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces which occurred in 2012 which led to the consolidation of three under-strength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. A major re-organisation was necessary because it was clear that the three brigade structure was no longer viable, parti...

664. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 17 May 2017, if the number of specialist field engineer companies of the Army was reduced from three to two in the 2012 reorganisation; and if so, the way in which he can then state that the ability of the Defence Forces to adequately respond to specialist engineer aid to the civil authority contingency requirements has not as a consequence been negatively impacted. (Question 25818/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The re-organisation of the Defence Forces in 2012 was focussed on enhancing its operational capacity to the greatest extent possible. In line with the consolidation of under-strength units into a smaller number of full strength units, the number of field engineer companies was reduced from three to two. This facilitated an increase in the establishment strength of a field engineer company from 88 to 103 personnel, whilst an En...

56. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the reduction of Army field engineer companies from three to two arising from the 2012 Defence Forces reorganisation has decreased the capacity of the Defence Forces to aid the civil authorities in areas such as forest and gorse fires, maintenance of essential national services and national disasters in times of emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23260/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In 2012, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces took place which resulted in the consolidation of under-strength units into a smaller number of full strength units, a reduction in the number of headquarters and the associated re-deployment of personnel from administrative and support functions to operational units. 
As a result of the re-organisation, the operational capacity of the Defence Forces has been optimised to t...

34. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if consideration is being given to a reorganisation of the Permanent Defence Forces with particular reference to the security needs of the Border region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15432/17 asked on 29 Mar 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In 2012, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces took place which resulted in the consolidation of under-strength units into a smaller number of full strength units, a reduction in the number of headquarters and the associated re-deployment of personnel from administrative and support functions to operational units.
As a result of the re-organisation, the operational capacity of the Defence Forces has been maintained to th...

45. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on criticism of the efforts to reorganise the Army, which in view of unprecedented retirements and resignations have left a significant skills deficit; and his further views on whether low pay, poor morale and isolation from family and home are primary drivers that have resulted in an exodus of personnel. (Question 15275/17 asked on 29 Mar 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As part of a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, a decision was taken to consolidate what were then three under-strength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. The decision was taken because it was clear that the three brigade structure was no longer viable, particularly when compared to international norms.
Key aspects of the re-organisation included the consolidation of under-strength units into a sma...

226. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if measures implemented in the reorganisation of the Permanent Defence Forces in 2013 will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14767/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 226 and 227 together. 
As part of a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, a decision was taken to consolidate the three under-strength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. The decision to move to a two brigade structure involved full consultation with the Defence Forces, and final proposals approved by the then Minister for Defence were agreed between the Chief of Staff...

227. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a third brigade will be re-established in the Army; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14768/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 226 and 227 together. 
As part of a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, a decision was taken to consolidate the three under-strength Army brigades into two full strength brigades. The decision to move to a two brigade structure involved full consultation with the Defence Forces, and final proposals approved by the then Minister for Defence were agreed between the Chief of Staff...

31. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason soldiers from Finner Camp in County Donegal are being transported to Dublin and soldiers from Galway are being transported to Cork every day to carry out duties; the costs involved of these movements in terms of transport and soldier’s time; his views on whether the reorganisation of the Defence Forces into a two brigade structure has been a success; his views on whether the reorganisation has left Ireland exposed in view of Brexit, should a managed Border become necessary; and his views on whether the reorganisation has been a significant factor in the poor findings from the Defence Forces climate survey 2015. (Question 40201/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Deputy Noel Grealish: Will the Minister of State explain why soldiers from Finner Camp in Donegal are being transported to Dublin and soldiers from Galway are being transported to Cork every day to carry out their duties? Will he provide cost details to the House of these movements in terms of transport and soldiers’ time? Does the Minister of State accept that the reorganisation of the Defence Forces into a two brigade structure has been an unmitigated disaster?
 ...

801. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated savings to the State since the standing down of the Fourth Western Brigade by the Government in 2012; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this decision may have had a negative impact on the overall morale in the Defence Forces; if consideration will be given to review this decision in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37315/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following a comprehensive review of expenditure carried out in 2011, the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) was stabilised at 9,500 personnel. It was clear from the review that the three brigade Army structure was no longer viable, particularly when compared to international norms. 
Accordingly, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces was implemented in order to ensure that the Defe...

40. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to restore the three brigade structure to the Army; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16892/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following a comprehensive review of expenditure carried out in 2011, the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) was established at 9,500 personnel. It was clear from the review that the three brigade structure was no longer viable, particularly when compared to international norms. Accordingly, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces, encompassing the consolidation of the three under-s...

349. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Defence his plans to address the reasonable proposals put forward in correspondence (details supplied), so as to facilitate this infantry battalion without incurring any additional costs; if he will have same examined in detail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26029/15 asked on 30 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The accommodation requirements of the Mullingar RDF unit have recently been reviewed. The available facilities in Columb Barracks have also been assessed. It is clear that substantial refurbishment work would have to be completed if Columb Barrack was to be used by the RDF. A cost estimate of the required refurbishment work is being prepared. Any proposals for future use must of course be shown to be cost effective regarding any refurbishment required...

1. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence his views on whether the essential element of military efficiency and effectiveness is command and control, and that this is only effective when this operates closest to the operational troops; if it is the case that the 2012 reorganisation of the Defence Forces has undermined this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25256/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: This question is straightforward and aims to establish if the Minister accepts that command and control are at the heart of military efficiency and effectiveness. Does the Minister believe that the 2012 reorganisation has contributed to enhancing or diminishing the whole area of command and control as we have experienced it?
 ...

164. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 398 of 16 June 2015, if he or his Department will provide an estimated costing for the re-establishment of the previous three-brigade structure, as previously requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25319/15 asked on 24 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The current organisational structures of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) ensure that it can operate efficiently and effectively within a strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel. Within that strength ceiling, the return to the previous three Brigade structure would cause a range of inefficiencies arising from under-strength Units and an unnecessary increased administrative burden. This would compromise the current operational effectiveness of the PDF cre...

398. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 127 of 9 June 2015, the estimated cost of restoring a three-brigade structure in the Permanent Defence Force. (Question 23622/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The current organisational structures of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) ensure that it can operate efficiently and effectively within a strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel. Within that strength ceiling , the return to the previous three Brigade structure would cause a range of inefficiencies arising from under-strength Units and an increased administrative burden. This would compromise the current operational effectiveness of the PDF imposing an u...

127. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Defence the savings that have been made as a result of the abolition of the Western Brigade; the estimated cost of restoring it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21711/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): A range of savings measures that were introduced in the years immediately following the onset of the economic downturn in 2008 led to a reduction in the strength of the Permanent Defence Force. Following a comprehensive review of expenditure in 2011, the Government decided to stabilise the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500 personnel.
The three Brigade structure had originally been designed in the 1990s, when the strength ...

131. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Defence if he will commit to the restoration of the Western Brigade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21710/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Arising from the comprehensive review of expenditure in 2011, the Government decided to stabilise the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500 personnel.
The three Brigade structure then in place had originally been designed in the 1990s, when the strength ceiling of the PDF was 11,500 personnel. Clearly, at a strength ceiling of 9,500 personnel, this structure was no longer viable. In this context, the then Minister for Defen...

460. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the estimated annual saving that has resulted from discontinuing the three brigade structure in the Defence Forces. (Question 20486/15 asked on 26 May 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): A range of savings measures that were introduced in the years immediately following the onset of the economic downturn in 2008 led to a reduction in the strength of the Permanent Defence Force. Following a comprehensive review of expenditure in 2011, the Government decided to stabilise the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500 personnel.
At this strength level, the then organisational structures were no longer viable and a maj...

29. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence his response to concerns that the disestablishment of the 4th Western Brigade of the Defence Forces in 2012 has had a negative social impact in the midlands, west and north west of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6892/15 asked on 18 Feb 2015 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): A re-organisation of the Defence Forces was initiated by the former Minister for Defence in line with the Government’s decision to stabilise the strength ceiling of the PDF at 9,500 personnel.
The consolidation of three under-strength Army Brigades into two full strength Brigades ensured that within the revised strength ceiling, the operational effectiveness of the Permanent Defence Force was optimised in order to fulfil all roles assigned by Governme...

106. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Defence when the White Paper is due; and his views on a merger of the coast guard and customs maritime sections with the Naval Service. (Question 46532/14 asked on 04 Dec 2014 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The preparation of a new White Paper on Defence is one of my key priorities and I am determined to ensure that the new White Paper fully addresses the defence response to future security challenges in a comprehensive way. I anticipate receipt of an initial draft of the White Paper by the end of this year. The final draft of the White Paper will be fully considered by Government in due course. The White Paper process underway was intended to provide ...

34. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the date on which the 4th Western Brigade was officially disestablished; the number of Permanent Defence Force personnel positions in the 14 units in Custume Barracks, County Westmeath, seven days prior to the date of official disestablishment and in accordance with that regulation on that date seven days prior to the date of official disestablishment; and the permitted number of PDF personnel in the nine PDF units and the PDF personnel in the five reserve units of Custume Barracks. (Question 43293/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Revised organisational structures for the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) came into effect on 30 November 2012. This re-organisation consolidated under-strength Army Units into a smaller number of full strength Units, within a revised two Brigade structure. Previous structures were officially disestablished at midnight on 29 November 2012. The re-organisation prioritised the operational effectiveness of the PDF within a revised strength ceiling of 9,500...

491. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence the specific study which underpinned the decision by the former Minister for Defence in 2011 to discontinue the Western Brigade. (Question 42173/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following the comprehensive review of expenditure in 2011, the Government decided to stabilise the strength ceiling of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. Arising from this decision, a major re-organisation of the Defence Forces was initiated to provide appropriate structures for the revised strength ceiling for the Permanent Defence Force (PDF). 
The Chief of Staff and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence were tasked with...

135. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 7 May 2014, if, in arriving at the decision to reduce the number of army brigades from three to two within a Defence Forces strength of 9,500 personnel, prior to the aforementioned decision being made, the then Chief of Staff consulted with the then three army brigade commanders to advise on the personnel, intelligence, operational, logistical and deployment implications of such a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21825/14 asked on 14 May 2014 - Defence Forces Reorganisation)

The Taoiseach: The Department of Defence has civil and military elements, with Defence Forces headquarters being the military element. The Chief of Staff who is head of Defence Forces headquarters is my principal military adviser, while the Secretary General of the Department of Defence is my principal defence policy adviser. Whilst command is vested directly in the General Officers commanding Army brigades, the Defence Forces Training Centre, the Air Corps and the Flag Officer commanding the Na...