Department of Defence claimed it was “grossly inequitable” to take savings they made on military pay away from them

The Department of Defence said it was “grossly inequitable” they were to be penalised for making savings on military pay which they wanted to use to help plug gaps in rest of their budget.

In pre-budget discussions, the department’s secretary general told the Department of Public Expenditure there was a long-standing arrangement they could keep the cash they saved for military equipment, buildings, and other needs.

In a strongly-worded letter, the defence secretary general Jacqui McCrum said: “It has now been proposed that this arrangement should be discontinued with immediate effect.

“It is my very strong view that it is grossly inequitable to seek to change these arrangements midway through the National Development Plan and I would appreciate your assurances that this arrangement can continue.”

Ms McCrum said discussions between her department and officials at the Department of Public Expenditure in the run-up to Budget 2023 had raised a “number of issues of very significant concern”.