Govt to introduce €10m yearly package to address Defence Forces pay concerns

Govt to introduce €10m yearly package to address Defence Forces pay concerns

Update 4.55pm: The Government is introducing a €10m annual package to address pay for members of the Defence Forces.

The Military Service Allowance is being increased by 10%, which will see a boost in the pay for the vast majority of personnel.

Duty allowances such as for security and patrol are being restored, along with premium weekend rates, while recruits and apprentices will no longer be charged for rations and accommodation.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe denies the government has been too slow to act on the numbers leaving the Defence Forces.

"We have to look at each issue in the context of commitments that we have with all public servants," he said.

"It has taken time for the public pay commission to do their work, to assemble the level of detail that they need to then make a recommendation to Government and we have now acted on that recommendation."

Earlier: Expected raise in Defence Forces allowances 'a complete insult', says former Army Ranger

Update 7.12am: Increases in allowances for members of the Defence Forces are expected to be given the green light by the Government today.

The Cabinet is to consider a Public Service Pay Commission Report on the issue.

It is expected to recommend the re-introduction of a loyalty bonus scheme worth around €20,000 for pilots.

A pay review and reform of recruitment for certain grades are also likely to be among the recommendations.

However, Cathal Berry, who was second in charge at the army’s elite Ranger Wing, has described the reported €10m package proposed by the Public Sector Pay Commission into pay and recruitment in the Defence Forces as “too little, too late.”

It would work out at just €1 a day before tax, he said. “This is the kind of money you’d give a child to get sweets. That’s what the Government thinks of the Defence Forces,” he told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland.

"This is not going to be enough to stop people from leaving the Defence Forces," he warned.

Last year’s €50m package to the gardaí was an indication “that the gardaí are five times more important than the Defence Forces.”

While the minimum wage is €9.80 per hour, a member of the Defence Forces receives just €2 an hour for a 24-hour security duty shift.

The Public Sector Pay Commission proposal would mean that payment will now rise from €2 per hour to €3 per hour. “That’s a complete insult.”

The Defence Forces are not looking for preferential treatment, they are looking for equality, he added. “Looking for the national minimum wage is not an unfair request.”

Mr Berry also pointed out that the €10m recommended by the Pay Commission will come from the defence vote which he said should have been used “to solve this problem which is caused by inaction.”

He also claimed that members of the Defence Forces have to pay for their own treatment if they are injured ‘on the job.’ Initial treatment is covered, he said, but follow-up scans and any further treatment have to be paid by the individuals themselves.

“People injured at work are completely abandoned.”

He warned that naval vessels will be tied up, air force planes will remain on the ground, there will be fewer search and rescue and search and recovery missions as there simply will not be the personnel to operate them.

“This is just going to make matters worse.”

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