TD wants Defence Forces pay protected


A significant number of members of the Defence Forces were receiving family income supplement, Fianna Fáil defence spokesman Seán Ó Fearghaíl said.

“That very fact indicates that the pay of these serving men and women, of whom this State is rightly proud, is at a level that cannot bear further reduction,” he added.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said the Minister should be an advocate for the members of the Defence Forces and recognise that they had been pioneers in public service reform. Between 1997 and 2007, expenditure on the Defence Forces declined by about 50 per cent.

“I am also conscious, as I am sure you are, that the allowances paid to Defence Forces’ members are mostly part of core pay and, therefore, must be protected,” he added.

Minister for Defence Alan Shatter said he could give every assurance that he had great respect for the fantastic achievements in his department and in the Defence Forces in modernisation and bringing about change and cost savings.

He added that the question of what allowances might be considered to be part of core pay was a matter for discussion between the department and the representative associations.

It was important to understand, he said, that the term “allowances” covered a variety of payment types which were different from each other, with some intended to reimburse expenses. Some payments were made in recognition of particular technical or professional qualifications while others recognised particularly onerous duties at home and overseas.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl asked Mr Shatter if he would accept that a crude pro rata percentage cut of 3.5 per cent across the board was not the way to approach the particular circumstances of the 9,500 members of the Defence Forces.

Mr Shatter said the matter was being approached in a particular manner, in the context of departments being requested to achieve certain savings.