Pay Defence Forces properly or bring in conscription

Sir, – The recent increases in allowances for Defence Forces personnel, totalling €10m, work out at less than €25 per week, per serving member, and this is taxable.

This is clearly not enough to encourage those who left the forces in the past two years, to return, nor enough to discourage those who are planning to leave, from leaving.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the proposals were planned to fail, to keep the Defence Forces, at below strength levels, indefinitely.

The Government’s real concern, in presenting its proposals, is to avoid a knock-on effect on public sector pay.


There are two options to resolve the problem, and return the Defence Forces to its authorised strength level. One is to acknowledge that the Defence Forces are different from any other body in the public sector and give them a separate pay review mechanism.

They are different because they are not allowed to strike, not allowed to take industrial action of any kind, nor to publicly protest. Moreover they are oath-bound to carrying out all assigned tasks even if it means their certain death.

The second option is conscription. – Yours, etc,

Col DORCHA LEE (retd),

Navan, Co Meath.