As Deputy Burton will be aware, and Deputy Daly also has a lot of experience in this area, the way in which we manage public sector wage and allowance policy is via a collective agreement. Any change that is made or considered for the Defence Forces, therefore, has immediate consequences for the rest of those who work in the public and civil services, as noted in the debate a short time ago with Deputy Jonathan O'Brien in regard to those who work in our nursing and midwifery services.
Deputy Daly specifically put to me the issue of why the Department of Defence and the armed forces have got increased funding for capital expenditure. I thought increased funding for equipment, vessels and vehicles would be welcomed, particularly given the Department and some parts of the armed forces have been calling for that.
In regard to the point put to me by Deputy Burton, I reiterate that we have a collective wage agreement overall, and the value of this is still understood by the Labour Party. As I said in regard to nurses, I have nothing but the highest respect for the contribution our armed forces make at home, on the seas and further abroad.
I make the point that, for a newly qualified three-star private and their Naval Service equivalent, after approximately 29 weeks of training, their salary at that point stands at €27,257, including the military service allowance. In the debate on allowances or salary, it is important to have that point in mind.