Government has failed Defence Forces - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has spoken of the concerns of the enlisted members of the Defence Forces following his attendance at the annual PDFORRA conference in Kerry this week.
The Wicklow TD said:
“There is a real sense of frustration among the members of the Defence Forces whom I spoke to at the conference.
“The failure of the government to concede to the request of PDFORRA to affiliate with ICTU leaves members believing that they will not be allowed to secure the kind of deal for members of the Defence Forces that other bodies employed by the state are able to secure by having their representatives in the room as negotiations take place.
“It is very evident also that many members find themselves caught in a limbo where, due to the failure of the Minister to resolve the issue of post-1994 contracts, many members do not know where they stand next year.
“The lack of security of tenure is undermining morale beyond the cohort immediately affected by the Minister's inaction.
“Alongside this, the failure of the government to pay the sea service commitment scheme to members of the naval service is adding to an overall tale of woe for the defence forces as a whole.
“But while they wait for their due, they remain outside the remit of the working time directive. Receiving little recognition for the work that they do beyond the legal parameters of the working week.
“Ships remain tied up, patrols are not taking place, and service personnel are unable to take time off as there is no one to replace them.
“Tomorrow (Friday) I will be participating in a Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence visit to the Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork. I am looking forward to meeting with and hearing from members of the naval service.
“This government has failed the Defence Forces, they have shown no commitment, no loyalty, and no resolve in addressing the issues that beset our forces.
“At the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence during the week, a representative of the Reserve Defence Forces claimed that the next few months could be make or break for our reserve forces.
“Based on the government’s performance to date, it is hard to see how the situation can be any different for the Permanent Defence Forces.”