Allowance restoration is far to slow for Defence Forces families
Deputy Willie Penrose has raised the issue of restoration of allowances for members of the Defence Forces with An Taoiseach and Minister for Defence.
Deputy Penrose said;
“I asked the Minister for Defence and An Taoiseach, the status of the review taking place within the consultation procedure in respect of restoration of the allowances to members of the Defence Forces which were substantially reduced; and does he have plans for the full restoration of the allowances without further delay.
“The reduction in allowances has had an incredibly adverse effect on the lives and families of members of the Defense Forces. I recall listening to the story of spouses of service members being unable to purchase meat for dinner earlier this year. I was proud to show my support last September to former members of the Defence Forces, and families of the current members, who had marched to the Dáil to highlight their frustration at the ongoing issues surrounding pay.
“The response to my query is wholly inadequate. The unwinding of FEMI legislation is moving far too slowly for those at the lowest level of pay scales within the Public Service. Defense forces members are the lowest paid workers in the public service. They are feeling the impacts of these cuts most acutely and for the Taoiseach, who is also the Minister for Defence, to have nothing to say about their poor pay another than, ‘they must wait’, really isn’t acceptable.
“The Minister said that the process of restoration is “weighted in favor of those on lower pay”, yet for the families of defense force members who are struggling month after month to make ends meet, that just isn’t translating into real improvements in their conditions.
“I will continue to raise the issue and I would ask the Minister for Defence advocate on the behalf of the needs of these men, women, and families. If we do not address this now we will continue to see a decline in the number of Defence Forces members who do such important work which is crucial to the safe operation of the State.