News & Media

Budget 2021 fails to address pay and conditions in the Defence Forces

13 October 2020

Statement by Senator Mark Wall
Spokesperson on Defence, Tourism and Sport
Mark Wall
  • Increased capital investment welcome

Budget 2021 fails to address pay and conditions in the Defence Forces which is exacerbating the recruitment and retention crisis in the forces according to Labour Defence Spokesperson, Senator Mark Wall.

Senator Wall said:

“While the €32 million increase on Defence spending and the additional €18 million in capital funding are welcome, this Budget again fails to adequately address pay and conditions for the Defence Forces.

“Defence Force families should not be forced to rely on Social Welfare to make ends meet and people wearing the uniform of the State should not live in poverty. Core pay is a primary cause of the recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces.

“85% of Irish military personnel earn less than the average industrial wage and the core pay in the Defence Forces is a massive outlier in public sector pay. The €10.5 million allocated in the Budget to provide for outstanding commitments arising from the Public Sector Stability Agreement 2018-2020 and the restoration of the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) allowances are not enough.

“The restoration of allowances does not address the real issue at the heart of the crisis which is core pay. The Minister needs to bring forward the terms of reference to establish the Independent Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces as promised in the Programme for Government immediately which was not mentioned in todays Budget.

“While the Labour Party welcomes the capital measures contained within todays Budget which will allow the Defence forces to replace and renew essential military equipment. The Budget failed completely to address the issue of core pay which is at the heart of the crisis that is threatening the viability of the forces.