An independent general election candidate said the issue of defense forces pay is now critical.
John Perry (Ind) who is running in the Sligo Leitrim constituency which incorporates south Donegal said: “I have met families of Irish Defence Forces members and they have told me first hand how they are struggling to survive.
“These members and their families are not being valued or respected by the state. Morale is now at an all-time low, recruitment is at an all-time low and retention is also at an all-time low.
“Defence Forces personnel, both Privates and Officers are looking for loyalty from the state and to be valued and remunerated adequately.
“If this situation was happening in any other organisation, there would have been industrial action a long time ago. However we are witnessing a permanent strike action as personnel are leaving the job they enjoy to find work that pays a proper wage so as to support their families.”
Mr Perry said a Public Service Pay Commission recommendation made last year did not go far enough. The recommendation was for a 10% increase in the military service allowance with a minimum payment of €350 for Army Privates in their first three years of service.
“The pay issue for army personnel and their families is now critical, and the fact that the outgoing government supported by Fianna Fail opposed the rights of soldiers to form a Union, beggars belief,” he said. “The result some six months later is that the drop-out numbers from the Irish Defence Forces is on the increase, with record numbers now leaving. Defence Forces members and their families have had enough.”
Mr Perry cited low pay as the reason why over 800 enlisted personnel left the defence forces last year.
“How can any government or political party stand idly by and not take proper corrective action to address both the pay rates and to try and stem the outflow of personnel from the Defence Forces?” he said. “When elected to serve the North West, I will work tirelessly to ensure that these issues are addressed.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.