Belfast Telegraph

Defence Forces officers accept 10m euro package for increased allowances

The force has been plagued for months with reports of low morale and a retention crisis linked to poor pay and overtime benefits.

Among the proposals contained in the report is a 10% increase in the military service allowance (Niall Carson/PA)
Among the proposals contained in the report is a 10% increase in the military service allowance (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Officers in the Irish Defence Forces have voted to accept a 10 million euro pay package from the Government.

The biennial delegate conference of the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) voted in favour of the package at Killashee House Hotel in Naas, which they said “constitutes phase one in the Government’s rescue plan” for the Defence Forces.

The force has been plagued for months with reports of low morale and a retention crisis linked to poor pay and overtime benefits, with reports of children of some service members forced to use food banks increasingly reported in the media.

Among the proposals contained in the report is a 10% increase in the military service allowance which, the commission says, will increase the earnings of the majority of Defence Forces personnel by between 602 and 675 euros per year.

The overall estimated cost of this measure is 4.8 million euros.

It will result in an increase in take-home pay for Defence Forces personnel from this year. That will help with retention, which is a real challenge at present Leo Varadkar

Several allowances will be restored, returning to members of the Defence Forces the 10% cut, with the overseas armed peace support allowance also increased.

This means that, for a typical six-month deployment, enlisted personnel will receive between 15,300 and 16,100 euros and officers between 19,000 and 20,400 euros.

The rate for 24-hour security duty performed on a Sunday will more than double from 47.59 to 105.79 euros.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe welcomed the decision by the RACO to accept the report by the Independent Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC).

“It’s good news that RACO has agreed to accept the pay package on offer,” Mr Varadkar said.

“It will result in an increase in take-home pay for Defence Forces personnel from this year.

“That will help with retention, which is a real challenge at present. We are committed to building on that further in the next public service pay deal. Strengthening our Defence Forces will take time but I am more confident today that we are back on track.”

Mr Kehoe added: “The decision to accept the report will ensure RACO members receive real and tangible benefits, such as a 10% increase in military service allowance and the restoration of allowances reduced under the Haddington Road Agreement.

“The report also recommends the reinstatement of a service commitment scheme for Air Corps pilots, the details of which are being worked out, as well as a number of non-pay initiatives.

“In July, the Government published a high-level plan which sets out clear timelines and objectives for the report’s implementation.

“Importantly, this body of work sets out a clear pathway that will feed into the next round of public sector pay talks.”

PA

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