A sinking ship: Naval Service staff exodus

Our report today on the number of sailors leaving the Naval Service paints a grim picture for the future of Ireland’s maritime armed service.

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Jack Chambers tells minister he is in 'bunker of denial' regarding struggles faced by Defence Forces

The Minister of State for Defence has been accused of being “in a bunker of denial” when it comes to the hardships endured by members of the Defence Forces.

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Record numbers leaving the Naval Service

A record number of sailors are bailing out of the Naval Service and fears have been raised that it will be the worst year on record for departures of highly trained personnel.

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Taoiseach rules out pay restoration for Defence Forces

The Taoiseach has refused to fast-track any pay restoration for the Defence Forces to address a recruitment and retention crisis.

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Fianna Fáil motion calls for restoration of military allowances to pre-recession levels

Despite recent recruitment campaigns, the numbers in the defence forces continue to fall.

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Dept of Defence ‘ignored pleas for military families’, says former social worker

The former head social worker for the Defence Forces has said he was ignored repeatedly when he warned Department of Defence officials about increasing poverty levels being endured by serving military personnel and their families.

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Officers in Defence Forces 'double and treble-jobbing' due to shortages

There are critical shortages of officers in all sections of the Defence Forces, forcing junior officers to act up and becoming overstressed, while others are often "double and treble-jobbing" to cover the gaps.

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Taoiseach: Government must heed 'stinging criticisms' over state of Defence Forces

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he and his government must heed the "stinging criticisms" made by Commandant Barry about the state of the Defence Forces.

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Families are 'living in abject poverty': Former commandant calls on Defence Minister to resign

The former deputy commander of the elite Irish special forces says the Minister with responsibility for Defence and his senior civil servants should resign because they are running the country's military into the ground.

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Up to 50 sailors sleeping onboard naval ships during time off

Up to 50 sailors are sleeping onboard ships during their time off, because they can't afford soaring rents and there is not enough proper accommodation at the naval base in Cork.

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‘Limited’ increases could damage Defence Forces morale

Proposed increases in allowances for members of the Defence Forces could make the retention and recruitment crisis worse, not better, it has been warned.

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Reserve Defence Forces Association claim Minister has 'essentially forgotten about their existence'

Members of the country's Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) are being paid on average 18% less than the rates being given to their counterparts in the regular forces.

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Security expert: Terror atrocity in Ireland a matter of ‘not if, but when’

A security expert who witnessed recent terrorist atrocities in Sri Lanka claims Ireland won’t be equipped to respond to similar attacks, which he believes will inevitably come to this country.

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Retired lieutenant colonel: ‘Neglect of Defence Forces exposes Ireland’

The Government has been accused of running down the Defence Forces to such an extent that if there was a major security crisis, the country has been left “woefully unprepared, dramatically undefended, and shamefully exposed.”

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'Morale at all-time-low' in 'broken' Defence Forces, Cork parade hears

Retired Lieut Col Dan Harvey said the Defence Forces is "broken" and "in crisis" with "morale at an all-time low," because they are "overlooked and undervalued, overworked, underpaid, over-stretched and undermanned."

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'We need a serious retention policy': Defence Forces march to highlight dissatisfaction over pay and conditions

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people have turned out for a parade in Cork city to show support for the Defence Forces.

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Parade in Cork to highlight poor pay and conditions for Defence Forces members

The Respect and Loyalty Parade is the second such march organised by veterans and members of the lobby group WPDF (Wives & Partners of the Defence Forces).

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Defence Forces pay and retention issues to be addressed, says minister

The Minister for Defence promises that pay and retention issues in the defence forces will be addressed in the coming weeks.

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Cork parade to highlight ‘crisis’ in Defence Forces

The organisers of a parade are hoping thousands of people will join it in Cork to highlight the poor pay and conditions being endured by members of the Defence Forces.

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Fire warning: Defence Forces undermined

The weekend gorse fires in Donegal, which were dangerously out of control for a period, raise several issues. One is the frequency of these outbreaks right across the country. Though the cause of the Donegal fire has not yet been established, the rarity of a prosection for environmentally destructive arson is another.

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Delay, deny, and die: The official response to Air Corps chemical exposure fears

The Dáil is set to debate the establishment of a special committee to conduct hearings into the possible health effects of toxic chemical exposure among Air Corps personnel, after two years of revelations in the Irish Examiner, with TDs expected to back the investigation before the summer. Joe Leogue looks at what has brought us to this point.

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Navy struggles to crew patrols: A dangerous vulnerability

Any discussion around Irish neutrality is rendered meaningless by the incapacity of our under-resourced but willing Defence Forces.

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'Extremely special day' for kids of Irish troops returning home today, says Kehoe

130 Irish troops will arrive back in Ireland today, following a six-month deployment in the Middle East.

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Minister ‘should have checked troops’ exit paperwork’

The minister for defence and his officials are being asked why they did not check — while visiting the UN General Assembly last week — that the exit paperwork for 130 Irish troops currently stranded in the Middle East was properly completed.

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Irish troops due home today will return to Ireland on Sunday

130 members of the Defence Forces, who were due to return home today will be back in Ireland on Sunday.

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Families criticise 'appalling treatment' of Irish soldiers due to return from Middle East

130 members of the Defence Forces are, for the second time in a year, unable to return home to their families tomorrow.

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500 members of Defence Forces due for compulsory retirement given contract extensions

Up to 500 soldiers, sailors and aircrews who were supposed to be compulsorily retired next year are to be given a three-year extension to their contracts.

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Defence forces gained just three new members in 2017 despite recruitment campaign

The Defence Forces saw a net gain of just three new members in 2017 despite an intensive recruitment campaign, the Dáil has heard.

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Recruitment policy ‘won’t help Defence Forces’

Moving to year-round recruitment won’t solve the ever-decreasing numbers in the Defence Forces and it’s being claimed it’s akin to “rearranging the deckchairs on a still sinking Titanic.”

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Mediation over working time in Defence Forces

The four cases claiming breach of the Working Time Directive (WTD) within the Defence Forces have been adjourned after the Department of Defence offered to enter into mediation talks with the organisation taking them.

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Concern for future of Defence Forces as one-in-five see themselves retiring by 35

One-in-five young Defence Forces officers see themselves retiring at or before the age of 35, according to an independent survey carried out on behalf of their representative association.

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Reduced pension terms cited as 79% of Defence Forces; officers plan early 'exodus'

The Defence Forces are facing a mounting crisis in their officer ranks after a survey revealed 79% of those inducted since 2013 are planning to quit ahead of mandatory retirement, because they are on reduced pension terms compared to other public servants.

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Naval eyesight anomaly still in place despite year-old promise

An eyesight-test anomaly which has been blamed for depleted recruitment in the Naval Service Reserve (NSR) still remains in place, despite promises made nearly a year ago to scrap it.

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Number of cases being defended by Department of Defence against former staff rises to eight

The Department of Defence has confirmed that the number of cases it is defending against former Defence Forces staff over chemical exposure in the Air Corps has risen to eight.

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Call for inquiry into allegations members of Defence Forces suffered due to toxic chemical exposure

The Dáil is to consider establishing a special Oireachtas inquiry into claims that Defence Forces personnel suffered serious health consequences over decades as a result of toxic chemical exposure.

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Bonus for Naval Service in taking on more foreign-born recruits

The Naval Service is increasingly taking on more foreign-born recruits, which is a bonus when it comes to dealing with trawlers fishing off the coast that hail from a number of different countries.

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Navy officer gets award for saving drowning man 13 years ago

A Naval Service Chief Petty Officer has just received an award for saving the life of a drowning man 13 years ago, little knowing back then that he'd go on to prevent thousands more from perishing at sea.

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Defence Forces investigating after member discharged weapon at Laois petrol station

An investigation is underway after a weapon was fired by a member of the Defence Forces accidentally at a petrol station.

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'If women’s care has been undervalued, so too have men’s physical strength and their lives'

Last weekend three ex-soliders with experience of homelessness slept rough in Dublin in sleeping bags bearing the Tricolour.

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Defence Forces veterans to hold national protest in Cork

Defence Forces veterans are set to hold a national march in Cork on May Day to highlight poor pay and conditions endured by serving members of the military.

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Awareness campaign launched for homeless Defence Force veterans

The plight of homeless defence force veterans will be brought into sharp focus today.

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Military reservists claim pay discrimination

Defence Forces reserves are being discriminated against because they are not getting the same pay and conditions as regulars in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.

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'He spent most of his career carrying a hurl rather than a rifle': Defence Forces responds to Colin Fennelly

A security and defence analyst has responded to Colin Fennelly's negative comments about the Defence Forces.

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Surviving crew members to celebrate 30th anniversaries of oldest Navy ships

The Naval Service is inviting surviving members of the first crews of its to oldest ships onboard them for a reunion to celebrate the vessels' 30th anniversaries of service.

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PDforra say recruitment in Naval Service has reached new crisis point

The organisation representing enlisted personnel in the Defence Forces has said recruitment in the Naval Service has reached a new crisis point and the only way to solve it is with pay increases to retain personnel.

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Five Defence Force members faced courts-martial last year

A private was dismissed from the Defence Forces after failing in his appeal while another private left the country before his trial date, meaning it has been adjourned indefinitely.

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Defence Forces group ‘not confident’ of pay rise

The organisation representing Defence Forces officers says it doesn’t have confidence that the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) will deliver much-needed pay increases for lowly-paid soldiers, sailors, and aircrews.

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Enlisted men in army bring in 'big gun' for legal advice on outstanding grievances

The association that represents enlisted men in the Defence Forces is bringing a legal challenge against the Department of Defence and has brought in a “big gun” to help it.

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Defence Forces made available 1,200 personnel for nearly 200 Garda operations in 2018

In a statement of operations for 2018, citing provisional statistics, the Defence Forces said there was 197 'aid to civil power' operations in support of An Garda Síochána.

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Readers' blog: Defence Forces are Ireland’s gift to the world

As a nation we box above our weight. This is a phrase we often use here at home. And it is true, be it on the sports field, in music, in film, and the arts in general. Our small nation, with its big heart, rises to the great occasions and shines.

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650 Defence Forces personnel spending Christmas week serving abroad on peacekeeping missions

They are serving abroad on peacekeeping missions in the likes of Syria, South Lebanon and Mali.

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Army cases delayed: Pay up to avert further actions

Even at this remove, the Army deafness claims stand as a defining moment: The official ineptitude that led to them and the opportunism that followed said a lot about this society. That fiasco cost €288.7m, of which €100.2m went to the legal professions.

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Controlled explosion on objects found at Clare recycling plant

An army bomb disposal team has carried out a controlled explosion on two objects discovered at a recycling plant in Co Clare this morning.

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Ex-general criticises border security approach

A former Defence Forces general has criticised the Government’s approach to security along the border in the light of Brexit, warning the operational knowledge of the border has been lost by organs of the State tasked with security.

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Members of the Defence Forces working up to 70 hours a week, survey reveals

Shortages of officers in the Defence Forces have resulted in bomb disposal experts and marine engineers having to work 70 and 65 hours a week respectively without any overtime.

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Defence Forces personnel say Department 'doesn't want to engage' in talks

PDFORRA, which represents enlisted personnel in the Defence Forces, is preparing to take another 35 cases of breaches in the WTD (Working Time Directive) to the High Court.

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Picket at TDs’ offices over Defence Forces pay

Former members of the Defence Forces and a lobby group are combining to picket all TDs’ offices this Saturday to highlight the poor pay and conditions being endured by serving soldiers, sailors and aircrews.

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Leaking of military report a worry, says minister

The junior minister tasked with the Defence Forces has said it is “worrying” that an internal military report critical of his department’s Budget 2019 allocation was leaked.

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Protest by ex-Air Corps personnel targets Minister Paul Kehoe

A group of former air corps personnel say they will campaign against junior defence minister Paul Kehoe’s re-election in his Wexford constituency in protest at his response to health and safety issues within the force.

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