PrimeTime report exposes crisis within the Irish Defence Forces
Speaking in response to last night’s RTE Prime Time Programme on the Irish Defence Forces, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the report highligted the unprecedented collapse in morale of personnel serving in the Army, Navy and Air Corps which was, he claimed, directly attributable to years of government underfunding and neglect.
“The RTE report by Conor Wilson into the state of our Defence Forces”, said Deputy Ó Snodaigh, “is a damning indictment of government policy, where cuts to pay and allowances and years of neglect have resulted in thousands of personnel being forced out of the services in recent years.
“The plight of our military personnel can be directly attributed to the cuts in pay and allowances that have resulted in hundreds of families living below the breadline. In a reply I received today from the Department, they confirmed that nearly seven hundred personnel are earning less than €24,518 which is nothing short of scandalous. In figures retained recently by Sinn Féin from the Department of Social Protection, 117 members serving in the military are in receipt of Family Income Supplement.
“Added to this has been the loss of experienced, specialised personnel which has resulted in serious gaps in essential services such as the provision of ambulance and top cover and other specialised duties in areas such as bomb disposal.
“It is hardly surprising then that the morale of the men and women serving in our Defence Forces is at rock bottom and despite the spin and bluster of Minister Paul Kehoe the belated efforts at addressing these issues are having little or no impact.”