Climate Reports findings into Irish Defence Forces pay and conditions “damning” – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin Defence Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described the findings of a report carried out by the University of Limerick into the pay and conditions of Defence Force personnel “damning”.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“A report in today’s Irish Examiner entitled ‘The Wellbeing in the Defence Forces Climate Survey’ paints an alarming picture where poor pay and conditions amongst soldiers, sailors and the Air Corps is leading to exhaustion, disillusionment and sinking morale.
“Officers and NCOs described privates’ pay as shameful and an injustice to young people. It also claims that this is a significant factor that has forced many recruits into leaving the Defence Forces for better paid jobs.
“It is an issue I have raised consistently with the Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe who is part of a Government that has taken advantage of the fact that the Defence Forces are prohibited from going on strike and are excluded from participating in collective bargaining talks.
“It is disgraceful that cuts to pay and allowances are forcing Irish sailors to sleep on their ships because they cannot afford onshore accommodation. A similar issue has occurred with soldiers who have to sleep in their cars when travelling away from home on barrack duties.
“Defence Force personnel are having to take out loans to meet basic living expenses and many are reliant on social welfare supplements such as the family income supplement.
“The financial strain being placed on military families is leading to severe stress yet soldiers are reluctant to seek professional help as it may prevent them from being deployed overseas.
“This report, which surveyed a sample of 603 officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and lower ranks in the Defence Forces, is massively damning as is Minister Kehoe’s refusal to act on its findings which were first published in 2015.
“I will be challenging the Minister this week in the Dáil to explain how he intends to address the issues highlighted particularly the scandal of poor pay and cuts to allowances that are having such a devastating impact across the three services.”