Updated: 06/04/18 : 14:14:19
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Defence Forces pay needs to be increased

Blaine Gaffney, a Fine Gael ‘Area Representative’ in Sligo, has said that the Department for Defence and the Government in general need to act fast and begin increasing the salaries of low ranking soldiers in the Defences Forces, in order to boost moral in the force and to stop the massive exodus of soldiers leaving the Army every year.

Speaking as a Sligo Representative at the ‘Young Fine Gael National Conference’ 2018 in Co. Tipperary last week, Gaffney called for the Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe to introduce “an immediate increase in funding for lower ranking members of the Irish Defence Forces as a matter of urgency.

He pointed out to the Conference that “The Defence Forces was successful in recruiting 750 personnel in 2017. However, an unprecedented 700 left the military during the same year, which meant a net gain of only 50 recruits. How is this credible?

“As a nation we should be proud of our Defence Forces, we should be proud of the role it played in protecting the State during the Troubles, we should be proud of the role it currently play in UN Peace Keeping Missions around the world and paying our soldiers pittance is a national disgrace which needs to be addressed now that the State finally has the resources to do so”.

The motion was passed unanimously by the delegates in attendance and it now forms part of YFG’s Policy portfolio.  

Speaking after the event Gaffney stated that, “I felt obliged to speak loudly in support of this motion as my grandfather, my father and all my uncles have all served in the Defence Forces since the 1940s.

Before the motion came up for discussion, “I remembered how a young solider from Sligo, who was serving in Finner Camp in Donegal, pointed out to me only recently that reasons why he was planning on leaving the force was that he was still living at home and that he couldn’t afford to save for a house on the current salary.

“It needs to be addressed rapidly by the Government” he concluded.