Defence Forces treated as easy target for cost cutting – Smith
12 June 2019
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said the Defence Forces have been treated as an easy target for cost cutting, with Fine Gael taking advantage of the unreserved loyalty and professionalism of the armed services.
He commented, “We rightly take great pride in our Defence Forces and the contribution made by the Permanent Defence Force, the Reserve Defence Force and by Civil Defence. In particular, for those of us in the Border Region there is a huge amount of respect for our Defence Force personnel.
“Regrettably, the number of serving personnel has fallen below 9,000 and morale among those members is on the floor. The unacceptably poor pay and conditions is a problem that has been continually ignored by Fine Gael, and many of those devoted to their service feel entirely abandoned by the State.
“There were issues with the arrangements for troops returning from overseas missions, something which caused deep upset and anger not only among the troops themselves, but also their families. This continued disrespect of personnel has gone on long enough.
“My Party’s Private Members Motion sets out the need to restore Defence Allowances and to establish a permanent Defence Forces Pay Commission.
“Fine Gael’s approach to the Defence Forces has all the hallmarks of a covert attempt to wind down and emasculate the service to a point where it is no longer viable. We will not allow this to happen and are determined to ensure that the current crisis is resolved,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.