Fianna Fáil Senators, Senator Lisa Chambers and Senator Robbie Gallagher, have welcomed the contributions made today by the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) on the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive at the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU.   

PDFORRA, the representative body for Enlisted Personnel serving in the Irish Defence Forces, is seeking a continuation of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive in respect of Northern Ireland as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol after Brexit.   

PDFORRA established the PDFORRA Medical Assistance Scheme (PMAS) as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee to facilitate members who required prompt medical treatment. Unlike Commissioned Officers in the Defence Forces, Enlisted Personnel are not provided with free private medical care and are not in a financial position to pay for expensive private medical care.   

The scheme facilitates members in securing medical treatment, mainly in Northern Ireland, under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive. At present a temporary and comparable scheme has been put in place by Government in respect of residents of the Republic of Ireland seeking treatment in Northern Ireland, known as the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme. 

Both Senator Lisa Chambers, Chair of the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU and committee member Senator Robbie Gallagher are committed to working with Government and ensure the continuation of cross-border healthcare for the Defence Forces.   

Senator and Committee Chair, Lisa Chambers, commented “It is clear that the PDFORRA Medical Assistance Scheme has been a huge success for enlisted personnel. Medical intervention has been secured quickly for personnel, sick leave has been reduced and many careers have been secured as a result of the scheme. Being able to access treatment in Northern Ireland has been a vital component in the success of the scheme.   

“I would like to thank Damien Quigley and Martin Bright for their time today at the Select Committee and reaffirm our commitment to working with Government and the Minister for Health to ensure that the scheme is given permanent status going forward.”  

Senator Gallagher added, “I value the contributions made today by both Damien Quigley and Martin Bright. PDFORRA provide an important service to our enlisted personnel, ensuring they receive prompt medical care and treatment – allowing them their continued service in the Defence Forces or to go on overseas service with the United Nations.  

“I along with my colleague Senator Chambers endeavour to working with Government to provide a solution to PDFORRA and ensure permanent access for members to cross border healthcare.”