Labour welcome the establishment of the commission on Defence but pay and conditions concerns remain
Following our submission to the Department of Defence, the Labour Party and Party Defence Spokesperson, Senator Mark Wall have cautiously welcomed the establishment of the Commission and wish it well in it’s work.
Senator Wall said:
“Labour believe that recruitment, pay, conditions, career progression and welfare of service families pose significant problems regarding the viability of our Defence Forces both at present and in the near future.
“Furthermore, we would seriously question the need for a permanent pay review body that is to be established to address Defence Forces pay. There is evidence that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body in the UK has failed in it’s objective to address pay for serving personnel.Such a body fails to cover the full spectrum of issues, as stated above, that need to be addressed.
“The Labour Party believe that a more holistic way to address problematic issues such as pay etc is to allow PDFORRA and other representative organisations to affiliate with the Irish Congress Of Trade Unions if they so wish. Recent parliamentary questions we have received show that the net personnel gain into the Defence forces will be down by 14% at the end of October, a figure that cannot continue.
“Also, we believe that the Minister should have included the Department of Defence in the terms of reference as we asked in our submission. In our submission we asked the Commission “to examine the role of the Department of Defence in formulating defence planning for the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reservists. In particular, the Commission should examine the operational relationship between the Department, the Defence Forces and academia and how this relationship feeds into defence planning and how it can be improved”. Failing to include the Department in the terms of reference is a missed opportunity.
“We welcome the commitment to the RDF to make it a more attractive option, and to examining better ways of helping the RDF support the PDF.
Senator Wall concluded:
“We appreciated being asked by the Minister to submit a submission on the Terms of Reference for the commission and we wish the commission and its members well. The task ahead is both difficult and urgent.Currently our Defence Forces are in a critical condition and there are questions regarding current operational capabilities and the future viability of the entire organisation.
“The Commission have a remit of one year to report back.We have all said that the commission is a once in a generation opportunity to look at the future of the Irish Defence Forces and that should still be the case.
“We remain committed to supporting it but will continue to highlight the pay and conditions of those serving and wishing to serve at every other opportunity.”