Irish Defence Forces Sent Out To Kabul To Rescue 36 From Taliban, But Can’t Get Fair Pay At Home - Tóibín
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has highlighted the hypocrisy of the Irish government as it sent the Irish Ranger Wing into danger to rescue 36 people from the Taliban, but refuses to afford the Defence Forces fair pay and conditions here at home.
An Teachta Tóibín: “The deployment of the Irish Ranger Wing to Kabul was one of pride of our defence forces once again coming to the aid of those in need, but also one of shame as well as these same service members are forced to sleep in their cars here at home. Whilst TDs and Senators have received three pay raises (four if you’re a junior minister) in the past year, Irish Defence Forces are still awaiting for the government to implement the Technical Pay Agreement negotiated in 2019. However, at the snap of a finger, the government can approve and pay more than €5.5 million to fund their army of special advisors. The pay and conditions are so abysmal in the Defence Forces that we have heard from Defence Force veterans of service members sleeping in their cars whilst enlisted because they cannot afford rent on a Defence Forces salary. Barrack conditions across the country are appalling. Morale has been depleted.”
“This goes without even mentioning the Fianna Fáil / Fine Gael creation of the annual exodus from the Defence Forces – which has left the capabilities of our Defence Forces in tatters. Presently, there 8,374 members of our Irish Defence Forces – what is needed are for our ranks to number approximately 9,500. We are over a 1,000 service members off what need – with an ongoing exodus of defence force service members from our defence forces year on year. 882 service members left our defence forces in 2019. Various surveys estimate that anywhere between 70 to 85% of defence force members think about leaving or wish to leave. At the present time there are currently 1,126 (12%) of positions within the Irish defence forces which are currently unfilled. There are presently 620 Junior management vacancies in the Defence Forces. 8 out of 15 High Level Implementation Plan Projects are behind schedule.”
“Successive FF/FG governments have mistreated our Defence Forces, and failed to even ensure that their service was met with fair pay. Our government should take no credit in the actions of our Defence Forces in Kabul, because they are the same government who mistreat them when they get home!” concluded Tóibín.