Sixty Defence Force members quit every month, Seanad hears

Gerard Craughwell says ‘nobody seems to give a damn’ about conditions for soldiers

A helicopter takes off during a Defence Forces open day  in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A helicopter takes off during a Defence Forces open day in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

An average of 60 personnel are leaving the Defence Forces every month, Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has said.

Speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday, he said pay and conditions for members of the Defence Forces were outrageous.

Some members of the Defence Forces were on family income supplement and “some poor unfortunates’’ had to sleep in their ships because they could not afford civilian accommodation, he said.

“Nobody seems to give a continental damn that private soldiers, not five miles from here out in Rathmines, live in what they now refer to as ‘Hotel Rwanda’,’’ said Mr Craughwell.

“I have seen the inside of these barracks and I have seen what they are like.’’

He said the findings in a 2015 quantitative report on conditions in the Defence Forces had been backed up by a qualitative report.

“Our last line of defence in this country is in crisis and nobody seems to give a continental damn,’’ he added.

Recruitment review

Fianna Fáil Senator Catherine Ardagh called for a review of the recruitment and retention policies of the Defence Forces in particular and the public sector in general.

Many members of the Defence Forces were taking on second jobs in order to survive, as well as taking out loans, she said.