78. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the considerations and planning his Department has taken with regard to Ireland’s imminent joining of PESCO; if the defence budget for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will now increase year on year due to the commitments required of PESCO membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52965/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Consideration is currently being given to the potential PESCO projects in which Ireland will participate. The work on elaborating the details of these project proposals and potential participants is currently ongoing at EU level and Ireland is playing its full part in those deliberations.

While some additional costs may arise in respect of participation in specific PESCO Project(s) similar to the case where the Defence Forces participate in EDA Projects, as the projects will relate to the ongoing development of Defence Forces capabilities for peace support and crisis management operations, such costs would be incurred in the normal course and will therefore be met from within the Defence Vote.

The Deputy will be aware that the allocations for defence already announced in the budget, which were based on the commitments set out in the White Paper on Defence, means that Ireland’s Defence expenditure will increase in real terms over the coming three years.