Defence Pay recommendations must be quickly implemented

14 May 2019

Labour Defence spokesperson, Brendan Ryan TD has said that the Government must move quickly to implement the recommendations, due today from the Public Service Pay Commission according to an Irish Times report; and ensure that our forces are able to recruit and retain the best. He noted it was convenient that having waited months for the report, it is expected the Cabinet will sign off on it the week of the local and European elections.

Deputy Ryan said:

“The recruitment and retention crisis in our Defence Forces has been ongoing for some time, with plummeting numbers, and questions have even been asked about the future viability of the armed forces. A report in the Irish Times indicates that the long awaited review of pay and conditions will be presented to the Minister today. 

“I have previously called on the Government to ask the Public Service Pay Commission to bring forward its review of pay and allowances as the problems have long been known, and solutions were not difficult to identify. This has been a crisis for some time, and more urgent action was needed.

“It is now expected that the Cabinet will sign off on the new and increased allowances including a military service allowance for the Army, patrol duty allowance for the Navy, and a service commitment scheme for the Air Corps. It is convenient for the Government that this will happen the week of the local and European elections.

“Defence Force numbers had fallen below 8,500 when there is meant to be a minimum of 9,500 serving personnel. This is the lowest since the 1970’s when numbers were increased following the outbreak of the Troubles.

“The reality is that pay and conditions in the Defence Forces have not kept up with what is now available in the private sector, and the State is now losing out as specialist skills we have heavily invested in are sought out by other employers.”

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