I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 101 together.
Similar to other sectors in the public service, the pay of Permanent Defence Force personnel was reduced as one of the measures to assist in stabilising national finances during the financial crisis. The recovery in the economy has provided the fiscal resources to restore payscales to all public servants in an affordable and sustainable manner. Pay is being restored to members of the Defence Forces and other public servants in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay.
The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, provides for increases in pay ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement. The increases due under the agreement to date have been paid to Permanent Defence Force personnel. Further increases in pay are scheduled in 2019 and 2020.
By the end of the current Public Service Pay agreement the payscales of all public servants (including members of the Defence Forces), earning under €70,000 per annum, will be restored to pre FEMPI levels. The restoration of the 5% reduction to allowances cut under FEMPI is also scheduled as part of that agreement.
New entrants who joined the Defence Forces since 2011, may also benefit from the measures which will see interventions at points 4 and 8 of the pay scales for all such relevant new entrants to the public service.
The Public Service Pay Commission has conducted a comprehensive examination and analysis of underlying difficulties of recruitment and retention in the Defence Sector. The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform is expected to bring the report prepared by the Commission to Government shortly. The Government will give due consideration to the findings and recommendations in the report.