Soldiers do not want to be used to break strikes


DEFENCE FORCES:MEMBERS OF the Defence Forces should be given an assurance that they will not be ordered to break strikes if disquiet in the public sector leads to industrial action, Pdforra, the representative association of soldiers, sailors and aircrew, has said.

Pdforra general secretary Gerry Rooney said Defence Forces personnel had been used in the past to break a number of strikes, including those by ambulance and bus workers.

He called on Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea to assure his members they would not be used in the same way again.

“It will be morally wrong for soldiers to be ordered to break strikes arising from the imposition of the pensions levy,” Mr Rooney said.

Mr O’Dea described as a “hypothetical situation” the suggestion that soldiers would be used to break strikes. He said he did not comment on such situations.

However, in reply to a written Dáil question yesterday related to the issue, Mr O’Dea said: “As has been done in the past, the Defence Forces may be called on to contribute to maintaining vital services in times of industrial action.”

Mr Rooney said soldiers supported the opposition to the pension levy being expressed across the public sector.

The pension levy was unfair and bitterly disappointing for soldiers, sailors and aircrew of the Defence Forces.“These personnel, many of whom have given long and dedicated service both at home and overseas, are now being unfairly used to address mistakes made in the management of the national economy in which they had no role,” Mr Rooney said.