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  • #46
    Originally posted by trellheim View Post
    I have always trivially wondered why Army Pensions is a separate Vote
    May be to do with the historic nature of the payments. While it covers pensions of those, obviously who served in the Defence forces, it also covers that of the dependants of those involved in the War of independence.
    I was looking at a local case recently on mil archives, and there was no hard and fast rule applied, as would be the case in the various versions of Dept of Social welfare over the years.
    The DoD agreed to pay the offspring of x a fixed amount for the rest of their natural life in some cases. A person in similar circumstances in a neighbouring town could get less, or more, depending on who made the decision, and why.
    I imagine once they saw how the funds were being dispersed, the Dept responsible for either Finance or Social welfare washed their hands of it, and left it securely in the lap of DoD. Perhaps, as time passes, and those in receipt of War of Independence pensions grow scarce, there may present an opportunity to merge this with the main defence vote.
    That's my theory anyway.
    There was 121 still getting the War of independence Spouse pension in 2014.
    https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-30908616.html
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
      May be to do with the historic nature of the payments. While it covers pensions of those, obviously who served in the Defence forces, it also covers that of the dependants of those involved in the War of independence.
      I was looking at a local case recently on mil archives, and there was no hard and fast rule applied, as would be the case in the various versions of Dept of Social welfare over the years.
      The DoD agreed to pay the offspring of x a fixed amount for the rest of their natural life in some cases. A person in similar circumstances in a neighbouring town could get less, or more, depending on who made the decision, and why.
      I imagine once they saw how the funds were being dispersed, the Dept responsible for either Finance or Social welfare washed their hands of it, and left it securely in the lap of DoD. Perhaps, as time passes, and those in receipt of War of Independence pensions grow scarce, there may present an opportunity to merge this with the main defence vote.
      That's my theory anyway.
      There was 121 still getting the War of independence Spouse pension in 2014.
      https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-30908616.html
      PAYMENTS TO SPOUSES OF VETERANS OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE:
      2020 - 25
      2021 - budgeted for 11

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      • #48
        Might be of interest to some how it was explained by MM in the Dail recently

        https://www.facebook.com/cathalberry...9228688431865/

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Fantasia View Post
          Might be of interest to some how it was explained by MM in the Dail recently

          https://www.facebook.com/cathalberry...9228688431865/
          So the sliddery serpents can underestimate the pension requirements. then when the money runs out, remove the amount from the Defence budget. I'm i hearing it right. if so, neat trick.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by sofa View Post
            So the sliddery serpents can underestimate the pension requirements. then when the money runs out, remove the amount from the Defence budget. I'm i hearing it right. if so, neat trick.
            Was in a room where someone very senior who explained how when the Defence Group budget is allocated Pensions is assigned first, then DoD and DF gets what is left

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            • #51
              Originally posted by DeV View Post
              Was in a room where someone very senior who explained how when the Defence Group budget is allocated Pensions is assigned first, then DoD and DF gets what is left
              Out of the remaining €755 million once pensions and the DoD have taken their cut from the top, who gets what in terms of funding between the three services? For example how much do the Air Corps get in terms of OpEx and CapEx, likewise the Naval Service, and Army?

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Anzac View Post
                Out of the remaining €755 million once pensions and the DoD have taken their cut from the top, who gets what in terms of funding between the three services? For example how much do the Air Corps get in terms of OpEx and CapEx, likewise the Naval Service, and Army?
                Capex? The Navy junior rates mess got one of those fancy soft drinks/chocolate dispenser machines with a mechanical lift a few years back.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Auldsod View Post
                  Capex? The Navy junior rates mess got one of those fancy soft drinks/chocolate dispenser machines with a mechanical lift a few years back.
                  Joking aside. Every year there used to be an exercise in submissions for next years budgets. Expendables and maintenance estimates were submitted and all stand alone items such as a new boarding boat, power tools, etc. you had to make a case. There was no clear avenue to ordering systems to improve unit capability as it interlinked with other Corps such as Signals, Ordnance, or Artillery.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Anzac View Post
                    Out of the remaining €755 million once pensions and the DoD have taken their cut from the top, who gets what in terms of funding between the three services? For example how much do the Air Corps get in terms of OpEx and CapEx, likewise the Naval Service, and Army?
                    Doesn't work like that.
                    All Army, Air Corps and Naval Service pay comes out of the same pot, all allowances comes out of another, RDF pay another, kit and equipment another, barrack expenses another, transport another, so on and so on.
                    The Air Corps and Naval Service do get their own pot for equipment needs that doesn't fall into any other of the pots.
                    Civil Defence and Red Cross also get a cut out of it too.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Rhodes View Post
                      Doesn't work like that.
                      All Army, Air Corps and Naval Service pay comes out of the same pot, all allowances comes out of another, RDF pay another, kit and equipment another, barrack expenses another, transport another, so on and so on.
                      The Air Corps and Naval Service do get their own pot for equipment needs that doesn't fall into any other of the pots.
                      Civil Defence and Red Cross also get a cut out of it too.
                      I couldn't help myself - sorry.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Anzac View Post
                        Out of the remaining €755 million once pensions and the DoD have taken their cut from the top, who gets what in terms of funding between the three services? For example how much do the Air Corps get in terms of OpEx and CapEx, likewise the Naval Service, and Army?
                        https://www.audit.gov.ie/en/find-rep...36-defence.pdf

                        Page 19 onwards. Budget subhead A1 to A25

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Rhodes View Post
                          Doesn't work like that.
                          All Army, Air Corps and Naval Service pay comes out of the same pot, all allowances comes out of another, RDF pay another, kit and equipment another, barrack expenses another, transport another, so on and so on.
                          The Air Corps and Naval Service do get their own pot for equipment needs that doesn't fall into any other of the pots.
                          Civil Defence and Red Cross also get a cut out of it too.
                          A9 - Air Corps and A11 Naval Service subheads are supposed to be for maintenance AND fuel of the platforms - i.e Aircraft and Ships. Emphasis on SUPPOSED and MAINTENANCE. The reality is quite different.

                          The equipment needs of the Air Corps and the Naval Service come out (after much infighting and resistance) of the other respective DEFENCE FORCES subheads. (i.e its not the Army's exclusively which is how some in DFHQ consider it)

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Fantasia View Post
                            Might be of interest to some how it was explained by MM in the Dail recently

                            https://www.facebook.com/cathalberry...9228688431865/
                            Dáil debates
                            Wednesday, 3 March 2021
                            Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

                            Cathal Berry (Kildare South, Independent)

                            As the Taoiseach is aware, our peacekeeping troops are rotating overseas, to Syria, Mali and Lebanon in the next few weeks. A number of them have asked me to pass on their gratitude for the Taoiseach's personal intervention last week, which ensures that they will be vaccinated prior to deploying on a six-month tour of duty. I have no problem with doing that and it is very much appreciated.

                            There is a long-running saga that I would like to get to the bottom of today if possible, regarding the defence budget. Our troops are fully engaged in the fight against Covid-19 as well as fully maintaining their ongoing normal operations by land, sea, air and cyberspace. The Taoiseach will also be aware that our troops are fighting their own internal crisis from an organisational perspective, as a result of poor pay, poorer conditions of service and poor infrastructure. There is very little control over the budget and visibility of how it is spent. A number of parliamentary questions have been tabled in the last couple of years, which all point to a consistent pattern whereby significant amounts of the defence budget are returned unspent, every year, to the Exchequer. The latest example is in a reply to Deputy Nash from two weeks ago. Deputy Nash quite rightly asked how much money has been returned from the defence budget to the Exchequer in the last seven years. He was told that €130 million has been returned in the last seven years.

                            I am sure the Taoiseach can understand how upsetting, infuriating and inflammatory that is to the defence community, who are screaming for resources and see money being handed back without being spent. Whenever I query this phenomenon on the floor of the Dáil, I am always given different figures from the Minister's briefing notes. What is the true figure? Is it what is mentioned from briefing notes on the floor of the Dáil or is it the figure in formal responses to parliamentary questions, which are based on the fully audited appropriation accounts? I emphasise that I am approaching this question with an open mind. I have been consistently constructive since I first arrived here. I am not looking to blame anyone in any shape or form. I want to establish the truth of what the true figure is and, most importantly, the rationale behind the ambiguity. What is the reason for different figures in parliamentary questions, appropriation accounts and ministerial briefings?



                            Micheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)


                            I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. I thank the Defence Forces for the essential and extraordinary role that they have played in the pandemic, especially in testing and tracing, and stepping up to assist with the quarantine system and vaccinations. Their logistical support has been consistent throughout the pandemic.

                            The issue that the Deputy raises has come up on a number of occasions. He referred to Deputy Nash's parliamentary question and the reply. I will try to clarify it for the Deputy and maybe make some additional comments. Defence has two Votes. The main one is Vote 36 - Defence, which includes pay. The second is Vote 35 - Army Pensions. Over the period in question, from 2013 to 2020, a total of €130 million was surrendered from Vote 36. This was the figure referred to in the parliamentary question reply from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to Deputy Nash. This comprises a number of parts and does not necessarily mean there are underspends in the Department.

                            Traditionally pensions are difficult to forecast and tend to run ahead of what is provided. This requires a transfer of funds from Vote 36 to Vote 35. Vote 36 surrenders funding to the Exchequer and Vote 35 is granted a Supplementary Estimate of the same amount. Therefore, of this €130 million, €47.7 million was surrendered to increase Vote 35 by this amount. This shows up as money handed back to the Exchequer, if one looks at Vote 36 in isolation. If one looks at Vote 35 and Vote 36 together, nothing is handed back to the Exchequer. The reality is that this money is reallocated from one Vote to the other within the defence ministerial Vote group.

                            Of the €130 million, a further €74.5 million relates to excess appropriations-in-aid. The Department receives receipts annually, such as from the United Nations, referred to as appropriations-in-aid. When a Vote receives more revenue through appropriations-in-aid than what was provided for, this is known as surplus or excess appropriations-in-aid. In this instance, the Department's receipts were €74.5 million more over the period than it had projected. As a consequence, that €74.5 million was handed back to the Exchequer. As with all other Departments, surplus appropriations-in-aid encompassing these receipts cannot be used as additional expenditure on a Vote under public accounting procedures. If the surrendered amounts due to matching excess spending on pensions, and due to surplus compared with anticipated receipts not being factored into spending plans, are excluded from the calculation, the Department of Defence advises that the underspending over the period compared with planned spending plans is only €7.9 million from an allocation of €5.7 billion, which represents just over 0.1% over the eight-year period.

                            I suggest that we could seek further clarification from the Minister, Deputy Michael McGrath, and the Minister for Defence. I might join in on that meeting because this is a potentially an issue of forecasting too and may get into the detail of the areas where the underspending occurred. There is a genuine issue, as there has always been, with forecasting pensions, and there is a legal requirement regarding appropriations-in-aid.

                            Cathal Berry (Kildare South, Independent)


                            I thank the Taoiseach for that helpful response. It is especially revealing about appropriations-in-aid and the United Nations portion of that. The United Nations rebate is earned by our peacekeepers overseas. What are the Taoiseach's thoughts on establishing some kind of standing arrangement or mechanism where the UN portion of appropriations-in-aid is ring-fenced and returned to the Defence Forces via a Supplementary Estimate? That would certainly go some way to assuaging some of the anger. It is an approach that is worth exploring.

                            Perhaps the Taoiseach's office could kindly remind the Department of Defence that there is a budget to be spent this year? If as small a portion as possible, preferably none at all, could be returned to the Exchequer, it would be important because the money is desperately needed in the Defence Forces and should be spent for its intended purpose.



                            Micheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)

                            I thank the Deputy for his comments. These Supplementary Estimates are discussed by the relevant select committee and approved by the Dáil in the normal way. Appropriations-in-aid cannot be used as additional expenditure on the Vote under public accounting procedures. The Deputy raises an interesting point which we can pursue to see what potential there is.

                            Also, as the Deputy knows, we have established an independent commission on the Defence Forces which is due to report by December this year and perhaps this issue could be considered by that commission. Upon completion of the commission's work, a permanent pay review body will be established, reflecting the unique nature of military service in the context of the public service. A scheme to the allow for the re-commissioning of former officers of the Permanent Defence Forces is in place and has had a noticeable impact in quickly restoring pilot capacity in the Air Corps while other training initiatives are in train. I appreciate the Deputy's interest in these matters and will continue to engage on them.
                            Last edited by TangoSierra; 4 March 2021, 10:58.

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