New Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Lisa Chambers has said strengthening the country’s Defence Forces will be a key priority for her in her new role.
Deputy Chambers explained, “The current strength of the Defence Forces at 9,500 has strained its capacity to carry out its national and international assigned roles. Fianna Fáil in wants to see the Defence Forces strength increased to 10,500 personnel across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service in the years ahead”.
Fianna Fáil also wants to see the restoration of the Army to a three brigade structure by re-establishing the 4th Western Brigade based in Custume Barracks, Athlone.
“In addition to this we want to see Reserve Defence Force developed and expanded to over 4,000 members. As a reservist myself, I recognise the enormous social value that the Reserve provides in communities where there is a Reserve Defence Force unit”, the Mayo Deputy added.
The new spokesperson also hit out at the government’s decision to effectively downgrade the Department of Defence by assigning it to a junior Minister.
“I believe that Defence should be a lead portfolio in government and that a Cabinet Minister should be actively in charge of it. It hardly shows a serious commitment to our Defence Forces, if just months after the publication of the White Paper, the government can’t allocate a full Cabinet Minister to drive it forward.”