Fitzpatrick claims poor rates of pay are driving personnel out of the Defence Forces
Poor rates of pay are driving personnel out of the Defence Force, according to local TD Peter Fitzpatrick.
The independent TD, who is a former member of the Irish Army, raised the matter in the Dáil on Wednesday.
He highlighted the wage issues members of the Defence Forces were having and asked for army officers to be treated on a par with members of the Gardaí when it came to remuneration.
Deputy Fitzpatrick said: “Poor rates of pay and allowances are driving personnel out of the Defence Forces. The Army is losing good employees, with approximately 9% of personnel leaving every year.
“I have spoken to constituents who are members of the Defence Forces. They enjoy their job and they want to serve their country but they cannot survive on poor wages, in particular those who have young families to support.
“Not only are their earnings below the minimum wage, they are below the living wage. Currently, a soldier who works a 24 hour duty on a Saturday earns €2 gross pay per hour and takes home €1. In 2017, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, conceded a €50 million pay package to avert a strike by Gardaí. The situation in respect of the Defence Forces is similar. Will a package similar to that provided for An Garda Síochána be provided for the Defence Forces?”
In the reply to Deputy Fitzpatrick, Minister Heather Humphrey’s said: “Complaints of the type mentioned by the Deputy should be referred to the returning officer in the specific area. On pay for members of the Defence Forces, pay is increasing under the pay agreements. For example, the average pay plus allowances for enlisted personnel is €41,189 and average pay plus allowances for officers is €64,278. This will improve under the Low Pay Commission report.”
Since the Minister’s reply Deputy Fitzpatrick TD has contacted the Department and queried where these figures of €41,189 and €64,274 have come from and for a breakdown of the two wage amounts .