Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence, Jack Chambers TD has said that expecting members of the Defence Forces to call for duty during the Papal visit later this month without appropriate pay, is a further blow to the morale within.

The Deputy supports calls for additional pay to be given to those in the Defence Forces who will be on duty during the Pope’s visit to Ireland.

Chambers said, “As if the weakened morale regarding poor pay and conditions within the Defence Forces could take any further blow; it now emerges that members of the forces are expected to call for duty for 72 hours which is a clear breach of the working time directive.

“The level of disregard and the unacceptable attitude towards these members is only compounded by this latest kick by Government to ignore the working time directive ahead of the Pope’s visit.

“Just this week we heard of members of the forces are struggling to keep food on the table. Is it any wonder that families living in the Curragh finding it hard to make ends meet when their duty is not recognised in terms of pay.

“I can tell you that if members of An Garda Síochana or emergency services staff including nurses and doctors were being asked to present to work long hours in exchange for poor pay over the weekend of the Pope’s visit, there would be public outcry.

“It’s as though this Government would rather ignore the key capabilities of those that are employed by the Irish Defence Forces, than recognise the level of support they provide to the public during major events such as the Pope’s visit.

“We should all be sticking up for the Defence Forces in this regard and urge to Government to deliver appropriate pay and conditions for their military operations.”