De­fence Force fam­i­lies protest pay and terms

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

WIVES, part­ners and fam­i­lies of mem­bers of the De­fence Forces took part in a na­tion­wide protest yes­ter­day over pay and work­ing con­di­tions.

Sup­port­ers of De­fence Forces per­son­nel gath­ered out­side the coun­try’s army bar­racks, naval bases and Air Corps. De­fence Force mem­bers are pro­hib­ited from protest­ing or strik­ing.

Mem­bers of the Wives and Part­ners of the De­fence Forces say that some fam­i­lies are liv­ing on so­cial wel­fare sup­port and are re­ly­ing on help to buy gro­ceries. The group is call­ing for the men and women of the Ir­ish De­fence Forces to be given the right to in­dus­trial ac­tion or ac­cess to a labour union.

They also say the force’s mem­bers have ex­pe­ri­enced ‘sub­stan­tial pay cuts in the face of un­man­age­able rent in­creases’.

Speak­ing at a protest out­side Cathal Brugha Bar­racks in Dublin city cen­tre, mother-of-one Jan­ice Bowes, 35, said with­out pay restora­tion it is hard to live and pay the bills. She said: ‘My hus­band is a cor­po­ral in the mil­i­tary po­lice. There have been no pro­mo­tions. His net pay is re­ally bad. You can’t live on it... It’s go­ing on nearly ten years and it’s about time they got some­thing back.’

She added: ‘My hus­band does 24-hour duty and he could do 70-odd hours be­tween Sun­day and Fri­day. ’

Sharon Dunne, 47, has a hus­band in the Air Corps at the rank of cor­po­ral and a 19-year-old son in the De­fence Forces.

Speak­ing out­side Cathal Brugha Bar­racks, Ms Dunne said: ‘I wish there was more re­spect for them, I wish there was bet­ter pay for them. We have two chil­dren, we have never had lux­u­ries.’

Sol­i­dar­ity TD Mick Barry said: ‘Low pay is ram­pant in the De­fence Forces. One in five per­son­nel are forced to sur­vive on Fam­ily In­come Sup­ple­ment.’

The pay al­lo­ca­tion for the Per­ma­nent De­fence Force in 2017 is €417mil­lion and this amount will al­low for the pay­ment of the full es­tab­lish­ment of 9,500 per­son­nel.

Protest: Harry Whe­lan, five, out­side Cathal Brugha Bar­racks in Rath­mines yes­ter­day

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