Members of the Permanent Defence Forces and their families have been campaigning for better pay and conditions for the work they undertake in protecting the State. Over the last few weeks I have met several members of the army and navy who have outlined to me the hardship that many families face, as they struggle to meet the costs of providing for themselves. Like all of the public sector, members of the Defence Forces received cuts to their pay during the economic crisis. The Fine Gael led government has made efforts to restore pay cuts (see letter), but it is clear that special consideration needs to be made for the Defence Forces, particularly those at private level.
I took the opportunity at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis to raise this with Paul Kehoe, Minister with Responsibility for Defence, and Gabrielle McFadden, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Defence. I raised the issue during a motion on security and defence, and afterwards met with Minister Kehoe and Senator McFadden to explain in more detail the issues that have been raised with me by members of the Defence Forces.