Ryan concern over level of early retirement in the Defence Forces

03 October 2017

Labour spokesperson on Defence, Brendan Ryan TD, has expressed concern over reports that nearly three thousand Defence Force members have been forced into early retirement in the past five years due mainly to poor pay and conditions.

Ahead of its annual conference, PDFORRA also said that staff numbers in the Defence Forces are at a 30-year low.

Deputy Ryan commented:

“I am concerned- but frankly not surprised- that members of the Defence Forces are leaving in their droves.

“Not only are issues with pay and conditions pushing many members into early retirement, but as we can see from these figures, it’s also putting men and women off joining the Defence Forces in the first place.

“This ultimately leads to a loss of experience and expertise- as well as of potential new talent coming through.

“For some time, Labour has been calling for an upgrading of the Defence Forces ability to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment.

“More than 20 per cent of our Defence Forces receive the Family Income Supplement, which highlights just how critical the situation is for many members.

“Since as far back as 1995, PDFORRA has been arguing for affiliation with ICTU to give it access to the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court and allow the negotiation of pay and conditions on behalf of its members. This would also reduce the reliance of members of the Family Income Supplement, for example.

“Legislation would be required for this, as we in the Labour Party called for last April.

“The vital work carried out by our Defence Forces cannot be understated. Every day members are putting their lives on the line around the world to defend against exploitation, violence and even death.

“If our Defence Forces aren’t treated the way they deserve, numbers will continue to dwindle and it will soon be too late to do anything about it.”

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