By Sean O’Riordan
The Naval Service was thrown into turmoil after a military order was issued to scrap a 72-hour notice to go to sea and to require personnel to respond to ‘immediate’ call-ups for duty.
Members of PDForra reacted angrily yesterday when news of the order reached their annual conference in Co Mayo.
They predicted a massive exodus from the Naval Service as a result of the order which became apparent at around 3pm yesterday.
However, within two hours, it was rescinded by the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Michael Malone.
Military sources suggested the order was issued by a “lower level staff officer”.
A copy of the order, obtained by the Irish Examiner, read: “Despite the best efforts of all concerned, attempts to alleviate the current crewing restrictions/gaps for the fleet, have NOT been successful.”
It went on to state: “The situation currently precludes the ability to provide personnel with a guaranteed minimum of 72 hours notice for short-term reliefs. As a consequence of this, and with immediate effect, personnel may now be detailed for attachment to sea, for short-term reliefs without a minimum of 72hrs notice.”
It added that the instruction would be reviewed on January 7, 2019.
Before the order was rescinded several PDForra Naval Service members described it as the “last straw” and said they would leave the force rather than submit to it and let it destroy any last vestige of work/life balance they had.
PDForra president Mark Keane told Minister Paul Kehoe that the Defence Forces had “reached a crisis point”.