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)

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 number of full strength units, a reduction in the number of headquarters and the associated redeployment of personnel from administrative and support functions to operational units.

As I have outlined on a number of occasions, there are no plans to review the reorganisation of the Defence Forces. The White Paper on Defence, published in 2015, resulted from a comprehensive examination of Defence requirements over a ten year planning horizon and it specifically provides for the retention of the structures introduced in 2012. I am satisfied that following the reorganisation there has been an improvement in the deployability and sustainability of the Defence Forces, both at home and overseas, and it is clear that any return to previously outdated structures would cause a range of unnecessary inefficiencies, including a return to understrength units.