Fianna Fáil Defence Spokesperson Lisa Chambers says that she is not surprised by the findings of a report on the attitudes of Defence Forces members to their working lives and conditions. The report found that satisfaction with military life had dropped from 64% in 2008 to 48% in 2014.
Deputy Chambers commented, “This report finds that the majority of soldiers, sailors and air corps personnel would look elsewhere for a job. This is extremely worrying given the fact that we have already seen a significant exodus from the Defence Forces in recent times.
“Information provided to me this week in the Dáil shows that despite a massive recruitment campaign the numbers in the force continue to fall. There are now just 9,025 Defence Forces personnel, according to the latest figures available – that’s well below the current agreed level of 9,500.
“I have also previously highlighted how the number of officers in the force has seen particular attrition. There are now just 841 Army officers in the Defence Forces, down from 966 officers in 2102.
“It was reported that last year 76 officers left the Defence Forces early – a rate which is simply unsustainable. Representative organisations say they have endeavoured to engage with management but so far with little success.
“Hopefully this report will serve as a wake-up call now. Management must heed the message and so must the government. The situation is already extremely serious and there are real concerns that unless urgent measures are taken, more members will vote with their feet and leave the force”.