Promised Defence Allowances no substitute for a decent wage
Labour spokesperson on Defence, Brendan Ryan TD, has welcomed news of the restoration of certain special allowance for Defence Force members but has called on the Minister for Finance to find a route to increase core pay. He has also called for a full-time Minister for Defence to be appointed to Cabinet.
Deputy Ryan said:
“I welcome the decision by the Cabinet to support the restoration of some allowances for the lowest paid public sector workers, Defence Forces members. However, after three years of campaigning looking for the Minister for Finance to raise the basic wage of Defence Forces these small concessions are not enough. The Minister has the ability, as has been seen with An Garda Síochána and nurses, to establish a special arrangement for workers within public pay agreements. It is time to pay our army, air force and navy personnel a decent wage.
“If we want long term recruitment and sustained retention within the Defence Forces then the basic rate of pay must reflect a living wage. In the last 12 months, we have heard from spouses of service personnel who struggle to make ends meet every month. This cannot be allowed to continue. Basic rates of pay must reflect the dedication that these workers bring to their role.
“I believe that if there was a full-time Minister for Defence such pay restoration would have happened before now. The reality is that Defence Forces members have no advocate at Cabinet. The Taoiseach has delegated his responsibility to a junior Minister. Given the ongoing issues surrounding pay and rates of personnel retention, it is ridiculous that a full-time Minister is not in place.”