Senator Gabrielle McFadden, has asked for an increase in the Military Service Allowance.
This was one of a number of issues she suggested to Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe, during a Seanad debate on defence matters, and is intended to address the issue of retention of Defence Force personnel.
“Could I ask the Minister to consider the case for an increase in the Military Service Allowance which is payable to all Defence Force personnel,” Senator McFadden said.
“It is intended to compensate servicewomen and men for the ‘unique conditions and special disadvantages of military life’, which are acknowledged by the Department of Defence in their own initial submission to the Public Pay Commission. An increase in this allowance would benefit all personnel equally, but would not impact on the wider public service as it is a ‘sector specific allowance’.
“We need to ensure that military service is an attractive career option for young men and women. Currently, enlisted recruits are among some of the lowest paid public employees, with basic salary starting at just over €18,000. Indeed, many rely on Family Income Support and other State supports and I think that this is totally unacceptable.”
Senator McFadden said that while she is aware that the Minister has been working hard to address this with 860 personnel being recruited this year on top of the 690 taken on last year, she is adamant that recruitment alone will not solve the problem unless retention of the Forces’ most experienced staff is also tackled.
“As we move towards the centenary of the establishment of the National Army in 1922, we must put in place the structures and the funding necessary to ensure that Óglaigh na hÉireann are motivated and resourced and can start into their second century ready to meet the needs of a changing Ireland,” she concluded.