Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Jack Chambers has said Fine Gael is misleading Defence Forces members and their families by claiming a €32m funding increase in Budget 2020 when more than €50m has gone unspent so far this year.

Figures obtained last month by Deputy Chambers showed for the first 9 months of 2019, €24m in funding specifically allocated for pay and allowances for Defence Forces members has gone unspent, and another €28m has been unspent in capital expenditure.

The Dublin West TD called for clarity on Fine Gael’s Defence spending plans for the year ahead and criticised the government for its ongoing failure to treat the Defence Forces with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“It is misleading to try and claim this is good news for the Defence community. The so-called 3% increase in spending amounts to around €32m. However, we know €50m in funding allocated for pay, allowances and capital expenditure in 2019 has gone unspent so far this year.

“My concern is the “increase” in spending is no increase at all but just the savings from the money that the Minister declined to spend this year being recycled in 2020.

“The Minister should clarify if this €32m is in addition to what has been allocated for 2019, or if this money will be rolled over from the money, he failed to spend this year.

 “Fianna Fáil has been consistent in our demands for the Defence Forces, which includes decent pay and working conditions and the urgent need for the establishment of an Independent Pay Review Body,” concluded Deputy Chambers.