President Higgins backs Defence Forces over pay and conditions
"During my time as Uachtarán na hÉireann, and thus as Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, I am continuously reminded of the high regard in which the men and women of our forces are held."
President Michael D. Higgins has said it should not be too much to expect that members of Defence Forces get paid enough money to support themselves and their families.
Speaking on Wednesday at the annual Defence Force Values Awards at Áras an Uachtaráin, Higgins said that “serving men and women should have conditions including an income and prospects that are sufficient to provide for themselves and their families”.
At the event to honour seven exemplary members of the Defence Forces, both retired and serving, he said that words must be backed up by actions.
“I have heard and read with anxiety of the distress that is being experienced by some of those who are giving their all to serve the State,” he said.
He stated that these challenges should be addressed with "sensitivity and urgency."
“Those providing such a vital service as those in our Defence Forces must be real partners in interpreting and responding to such changes," Higgins said.
“Should this not happen, there is a real danger of a gap opening up between our expressed appreciation of their work and the circumstances we deliver for its practice."
The Government recently approved a €10.1 million package to increase work allowances for the armed forces following large numbers leaving the profession in recent years, citing pay as the main issue.