Troops miss out on usual forms of compensation

Wronged members of the Defence Forces are no longer being compensated because of the impact of the recession, according to the Defence Ombudsman.

Paulyn Marrinan Quinn SC said soldiers, sailors, and pilots who have been wrongly treated have to settle for “vindication” because the traditional methods of compensation — such as courses and overseas duties — were simply no longer available.

The ombudsman said that previously, if she found someone had been wrongly refused a career course — crucial in the Defence Forces for promotion — she would recommend that they get the next course.

Likewise, if someone should have been given overseas duties — important for career and attracting extra allowances — but was denied, she would recommend they go on the next overseas tour.

“I would recommend that the person get some reward. Since the recession the actual remedy is not there,” said Ms Quinn.

She said complainants “have to put up with just being vindicated”, which she said many of them are happy to accept.

Publishing her 2011 annual report, her sixth to date, Ms Quinn said her office examined 83 cases last year.

Of these, 79 were from males and four were from females, which she said corresponded to the make-up of the Defence Forces.

She said 63 complaints were from the army, 10 from the air corps, and 10 from the navy. A break down of the army complaints show that 24 (38%) were from 4 Western Brigade, 11 from 1 Southern Brigade, 10 from the 2 Eastern Brigade, 15 from the Training Centre (Curragh), and three from HQ.

The vast majority of cases related to procedures for promotions and careers.

Ms Quinn said trust among the ranks in the internal performance appraisal system had “broken down” and said there was a good argument for overhauling it.

Her office dealt with only four cases of alleged inappropriate behaviour or bullying in 2011.

Ms Quinn commended the “extremely positive engagement” from the Defence Forces on this matter.

* odf.ie


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