Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Lisa Chambers has said that the 2% increase in Defence spending this year is very disappointing and effectively represents a further reduction in capacity.

“A 2% increase in the day to day Defence budget is pretty derisory especially when you consider that there is a 4% increase in the army pension budget.  If the trend of recent years continues, the army pension cost has been underestimated and will have to be made up from day to day expenditure”, explained Deputy Chambers.

“The budget forecasts growth of 3.5% so a 2% increase in defence spending will not even keep up current demands.  The fact is the day to day to defence spending will amount to 0.2% of GDP in 2018. That’s much too low even by the standards of a neutral country.

“As defence experts have pointed out, the minimum level of deterrence is to have a conventional capability to fight on land, at sea and in the air. The level of investment in such a capability is an indicator of a nation’s commitment to its defence, and is usually expressed as a percentage of its GDP.

“The question has to be asked – with such a low level of defence expenditure relative to our national income, could we really enforce and protect our neutrality?”