Members of Defence Forces being recruited by public sector, representative group says

The association representing over 1,000 Defence Forces officers claims members are leaving because they are being sought out by other areas of the public sector.

Members of Defence Forces being recruited by public sector, representative group says

The association representing over 1,000 Defence Forces officers claims members are leaving because they are being sought out by other areas of the public sector.

Nearly 600 military personnel have been voluntarily discharged so far this year.

The Defence Forces Chief Of Staff and the Minister for Defence will address staff shortages when they attend the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) conference later.

Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett is appearing before delegates at the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers conference in Naas, Co Kildare.

RACO members yesterday voted to accept a €10 million allowances package aimed at tackling the retention crisis.

General Secretary, Commandant Conor King, says the public sector is trying to recruit Defence Forces members.

"We are ploughing so much money into training these people up to an excellent standard and then we are failing to retain them by not offering them an attractive package," said Comdt King.

They are not only moving to the private sector but - crazily - to the public sector.

The Association's Deputy General Secretary Derek Priestley says members want their pension entitlements addressed.

"Defence Forces personnel have enforced early retirement ages and the loss of a supplemental pension since 2013 has a significant impact on retention figures," said Mr Priestley.

"We are calling on the minister and the government in general to start making a commitment to resolve this issue and give some people a viable career path so that they will stay long-term in the Defence Forces."

Mr Priestley said that members are eager for staff turnover rates to reduce.

"I think they are extremely worried about the retention crisis," he said.

"As the leaders and managers, we have been dealing with this for nearly five or six years at this stage and we would like to think that we are now at the bottom and that with the publication of the pay report and the strengthening of our Defence Forces implementation plan that we can start moving forward and get the numbers back up."

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