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Commission on Defence Forces Needs to Recognise Dire State of Defence Forces

Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has warned that the newly-established Commission on the Defence Forces cannot simply be used as an excuse for the government to justify their continued mistreatment of our Defence Forces.

An Teachta Tóibín:

“The Commission on the Defence Forces was one of three Citizens’ Assemblies, two working groups, four committees, at least four taskforces, an expert group, at least two councils, at least two forums, seven commissions, and at least 73 reviews. There is the palpable fear that this Commission will simply be another talking shop to be used by the government to defer taking any action and justify maintaining the status quo. I have spoken to many of our Defence Force veterans who bluntly told me that if the Commission fails to recommend wholescale reform of the Defence Forces then this will see our armed forces decline to the point of no return. The Committee needs to address the issues of remuneration: why has the Technical Pay Agreement not been implemented whilst TDs have gotten pay raises, why has the level of remuneration for the Defence Forces remained at such a low level, why does our Defence Forces continue to be denied fair pay for their work."

"The Committee has also to address to continued level of disrespect towards our Defence Forces, in terms of their working conditions, the taxes levelled on their UN payments etc. These issues are contributing factors to the mass exodus from our defence forces year on year by our skilled men and women in uniform. This exodus and degrading work conditions are actually inhibiting the operational capacity and capacity to recruit of the Defence Forces.”

“The decline and disgrace of our defence forces has been presided over by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and if it continues, will lead to the complete ruin of our armed forces. When I raised many of these issues with the Minister for Defence, his response was to ignore these issues and chastise me for ‘talking down the Defence Forces.’

"This is the head in the sand mentality of the Defence Minister which is refusing to acknowledge the decline of our defence forces. Government Senator Malcom Byrne introduced a Bill to criminalise any usage of Óglaigh na hÉireann by anyone other than the Irish Defence Forces. So the government will make a demonstration about protecting the name of our Armed Forces, whilst their policies force soldiers to sleep in their cars, work multiple jobs and eventually being forced to leave the ranks of Armed forces. Senator Byrne would do better to criminalise the continued degradation of our Defence Forces by FF and FG.”

By Aontú Press | 2 March, 2021

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