Defence Force families protest pay and terms
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