Fianna Fáil TD for Longford – Westmeath Robert Troy TD says the Government needs to urgently address the serious concerns that have been raised in regard the current pay and conditions for serving members of the Defence Forces.

Deputy Troy made the comments after new figures were released to Fianna Fáil which reveals that the number of permanent personnel serving in the Defence Forces has fallen yet again.

Deputy Troy said, “The Defence Forces play an essential role in peacekeeping and policing in Ireland and overseas. The importance of their operation and assistance cannot be underestimated and the career path it offers has the potential to be hugely fulfilling.

“That being said, a career in the Defence Forces seems to becoming less and less appealing to young people in particular. The current level of recruitment simply cannot keep up with the number of people choosing to retire from active military life. This is deeply concerning, particularly to the community of Athlone which has a proud military history attached to Custume Barracks since the foundation of the State.

“Issues with the level of pay offered to the junior ranks of the Defence Forces make it difficult to attract new, qualified or talented individuals to join. Considering we can’t retain those that join for any length of time due to bad pay, we cannot expect others to be enthused enough to become a recruit.

“The Government has said that it will examine proposals to improve the pay and conditions for members of the Defence Forces. This is positive but we need to see real progress being made on this issue. Dealing with the retention crisis needs to be a key priority for this Government,” concluded Deputy Troy.