Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Seán Ó Fearghaíl has said he is concerned about the lack of fairness in aspects of the proposed changes to the Croke Park Agreement on members of the Defence Forces.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl commented: “From studying the proposals on updating the Croke Park Agreement I am concerned that the impact on army personnel is not fair. The rate of all allowances payable is to be permanently cut by 10% but the impact of the cumulative measures would appear to hit lower grades more. Members of the army have informed me that the impact on take home pay would see army privates lose 14% while generals would lose 6% of their income.
“We have always maintained in our assessment of the negotiations by government that fairness is key to gaining political and public service support for the proposals.
“That fact that new recruits will be joining the Defence Forces on lower pay is also a concern. That differs with the principle that was agreed in negotiations with teachers that new teachers would not be paid less than those who entered the posts in previous years.
“Only last week in the Dáil while these proposals were being discussed Minister Alan Shatter conceded in the Dáil that many army families are in receipt of Family Income Supplement because their finances are so tight at home. This raises questions about the approach taken to the talks and if line Ministers were consulted on the impact of the people serving in the public service. The Defence Forces do not have a union representing them in the talks and they should not be unfairly hit as a result.
“Fianna Fáil is studying this document carefully and is urging all those who would be affected to examine the proposals. The government is trumpeting this document as being fair and proportionate but there are genuine concerns emerging which cast doubt on that and they must be considered carefully by government.”