Post-94 contracts proposal a welcome first step in addressing Defence Forces crisis – John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence John Brady TD has welcomed news that Defence Forces personnel contracts, which were due to expire at the end of next year, are to be extended.
Teachta Brady welcomed that the Government has finally conceded to introducing measures which will allow around 500 privates and corporals to remain in service up to the age of 50.
The Wicklow TD said:
"This is a matter that I have engaged with the Minister on repeatedly, and often quite heatedly.
"It is a victory for the members of the Defence Forces, and the representative bodies, particularly PDFORRA, who have campaigned for so long and in such an assertive fashion.
"The decision by the Minister must be placed in the context of a Defence Forces in crisis.
"We continue to face headlong into a scenario where the Defence Forces cease to be able to fulfil their basic function, due to personnel shortages.
"There is a current shortage of 1,000 personnel, and further the loss of the hundreds of personnel affected by the issue of the post-94 contracts could have represented the final nail in the coffin.
"But it needs to be stated clearly that this is merely a reprieve. Personnel shortages continue to have a crippling effect on the functions of the Defence Forces.
"And while I welcome the fact that the issue of Sergeants is to be address in conjunction with consultations with PDFORRA, I look forward to seeing the full detail of the agreement.
"There remains a further onus on the Government to take further measures to address the recruitment and retention of members.
"Up to the end of November this year there was 224 naval patrols cancelled - primarily as there were not enough personnel available for the naval vessel to take to sea.”