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22/10/2021

'Old wine in new bottles': Budget 2022 fails to address pay and conditions in the Defence Forces, Kildare Senator claims

Irish army

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A Kildare Senator has said that the recently unveiled Budget 2022 fails to address pay and conditions in the Irish Permanent Defence Forces (PDF).

Labour Senator Mark Wall said in a statement: "The three lines of thanks from Minister McGrath will mean nothing to the PDF families who continue to seek proper pay and conditions."

"The indication that the Minister will address these issues after the publication of the Commission of Defence force report at the end of the year is just another can kicking exercise: the recruitment and retention crisis in our PDF has been ongoing for some time, with plummeting numbers, and questions have even been asked about the future viability of the armed forces. There is no sense of urgency to address this crisis."

Senator Wall continued: "PDF families should not be forced to rely on social welfare to make ends meet and people wearing the uniform of the State should not live in poverty.

"Core pay is a primary cause of the recruitment and retention crisis in the PDF."

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He added that while he welcomes the additional €35 million in the budget this year, he said that there is no specific reference to the post 94 contracts.

Senator Wall claimed that this could see hundreds of experienced personnel leave the PDF by the end of next year.

"There is no specific mention in the Minister’s speech about the investment programme outside of the proposed development of a Cadet School, that he mentioned in a recent Seanad debate with me for the Curragh as he described the flag ship of the PDF: it is old wine in new bottles."

He concluded: "The Budget has completely failed to address the issue of core pay which is at the heart of the crisis that is threatening the viability of the forces."

In related news, Senator Wall is among the Kildare representatives who have welcomed the news of a contract that will lead to the construction o a ring road in the town of Athy.

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