Members of Defence Forces deserve far better from government - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that members of the Defence Forces deserve far more respect and better treatment from the government.Ms Ní Riada was speaking as she attended a rally in Cork City this afternoon in support of improved pay and conditions for members of the defence forces.The Ireland South MEP said;
"It is scandalous that members of the Defence Forces have been consistently sidelined in public service pay negotiations and are being excluded from trade union membership or affiliation with ICTU. They are also legally prevented from public demonstration or protest over terms and conditions.
"Last year, PDFORRA was forced to go to the High Court in order to vindicate the right of defence force members to the provisions of the Working Time Directive.
"They were forced to go to the European Committee on Social Rights to vindicate their right to collective bargaining over working terms and conditions.
"The fact that members of the Defence Forces have had to fight this government tooth and nail here at home and in Europe in order to have their basic working rights recognised is an absolute disgrace.
"We now see ourselves in a situation where members see a long-term career in the Forces as unsustainable and in order to provide for their families, they have to leave the organisation.
"An Taoiseach says that joining the Defence Forces is about more than just money. I completely agree with him on this. It is about more than money.
"However, people don't join the Defence Forces to be disrespected or marginalised by the government either.
"Sinn Féin are in favour of members of the Defence Forces having the right to engage in collective bargaining and call on the Government to give effect to this right without delay.
"We stand with them in their fight for better pay and conditions."