Defence Forces accepts pay settlement

PDForra head says ‘executive do not believe that the recommendations go far enough’

Despite accepting the recommendations, PDForra, the soldiers’ representative organisation, said it had reservations and would continue to push for increased allowances for its 8,500 members

Despite accepting the recommendations, PDForra, the soldiers’ representative organisation, said it had reservations and would continue to push for increased allowances for its 8,500 members

 

Rank-and-file members of the Defence Forces have accepted the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) while at the same time insisting they “do not go far enough”.

The decision will mean a 10 per cent increase in the military service allowance, with a minimum payment of €350 for privates in their first three years of service, according to PDforra.

The Government has said the settlement will mean the earnings of most permanent Defence Forces personnel will increase by between €602 and €675 per year, as well as the restoration of a number of allowances to pre-cut levels, and the restoration of premium rates for weekend duties.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of State with responsibility for defence Paul Kehoe welcomed the move, saying it would “result in immediate benefits for its members”.

However, despite accepting the PSPC recommendations published in July, PDForra, the soldiers’ representative organisation, said it had reservations and would continue to push for increased allowances for its 8,500 members.

“The decision to ratify was not one which was taken lightly,” said general secretary Gerard Guinan in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“The executive do not believe that the recommendations go far enough and many feel that the Government will undoubtedly have to come back with additional increases in order to stem the outflow of personnel from the Defence Forces.”

Brexit threat

In spite of its belief, it said ratification was necessary given the threat posed by Brexit to the public finances. The Defence Forces have been the subject of much publicity regarding its levels of pay and their effect on the lives of its members and families in recent years.

Last month, President Michael D Higgins intervened in the debate saying it “should not be too much to expect” that members are paid an income that is sufficient to provide for themselves and their families.

PDForra represents members of the Defence Forces, Naval Service and Air Corps.

“The Defence Forces are down in excess of 200 personnel as compared to this time last year and recruitment figures are trending downwards,” Mr Guinan said.

“Under these circumstances, the Association could not see anything to be gained by further delaying the restoration payments.”The Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (Raco) last month backed the proposals by more than a two thirds margin.