Is The Defence Minister Too Busy to Deal With Crisis in the Defence Forces?
On foot of a PQ response from the Minister for Defence, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has criticised the Minister for offering no answers as to why the Technical Pay Agreement for members of our Defence Forces has not yet been implemented.
An Teachta Tóibín: “The Technical Pay Agreement concluded in July 2019 by the then-FG government which would have been a small stepping stone towards pay and conditions for our Defence Forces being improved to reflect the service they give to our country. It is September 2021, and that agreement is not yet implemented. It is over two years since a piecemeal €10 million deal to alleviate some of the mistreatment our Defence Forces are subjected to, was agreed to by Fine Gael with the acquiescence of Fianna Fáil – and it remains another empty promise unfulfilled of FF and FG in power. I asked the Minister for the fourth time for ‘the reason the technical pay agreement concluded with the Defence Forces in 2019 has not been implemented to date.’ The Minister declined to answer, couched his answer within a generic, stock answer about civil service pay and then referred to two reports on Technical pay that would not be published. How is that good enough from a Minister who has been Minister for Defence twice at this point? A meagre improvement of remuneration agreed to by FG is now being backed out of – how is this acceptable?”
“I raised with the Minister in the Dáil the record of mistreatment of our Defence Forces by FF and FG in government – he told me to stop speaking negatively about our Defence Forces. When I submitted a PQ to his office at the end of 2020, he offered no comment on why it had not yet been implemented and that it would be considered in the negotiations for the next public service pay agreement. Now in 2021, I put the question twice to the Minister again and I got even less of an answer than I have before. Every time the question is put to the Minister, a lesser response is given. What has the Minister done in his two spells as Defence Minister to improve the lot of our men and women in uniform? It is not good enough just to be a Minister, results are expected – but we wait to see them.”