'Confusion' over relocation of Defence Forces personnel
THERE WAS “confusion” over whether or not the option of voluntary relocation would be open to Defence Forces personnel, the organisation representing enlisted personnel said yesterday.
Minister of Justice Alan Shatter last month announced a reorganisation of the Defence Forces and a reduction in the number of brigades from three to two.
The Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (Pdforra) said it had been “inundated” by calls regarding the reduction of the Defence Forces and relocation of members.
There was “confusion” over the “critical issue” of voluntary relocation, the association said.
“It is now emerging that the actual extent of the movement of personnel is much greater than expected,” Pdforra general secretary Gerry Rooney said.
The movement of personnel would involve members from Dublin relocating to Athlone and vice versa, the organisation said.
Several hundred personnel in Cork may also have to move to Limerick, it said. “All of this will have significant implications for Defence Forces families,” it added.
The organisation has been visiting barracks to assess the impact of the changes on its members, Mr Rooney said.
The organisation was “actively seeking clarification from management on the criteria being used for moving personnel from one post to another”, Mr Rooney added.
He said he expected that under the Croke Park agreement “none of our members will have to experience involuntary relocation as part of the current reorganisation”.
A Department of Defence spokeswoman said discussions on the implementation of the reorganisation would take place with the representative associations and the department looked forward to engaging with them.
Last month Mr Shatter said the purpose of the reorganisation was to “retain the capacity” of the Defence Forces to fulfil their roles within the 9,500 personnel ceiling announced in December.
Reducing the number of personnel engaged in “headquarters, administrative and allied support tasks” was a central element of the reorganisation, he said.