Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - FCA Training Gratuities.

73.

asked the Minister for Defence if it is intended to increase the gratuities payable in respect of annual training to members of all ranks of the FCA.

The rates of gratuity payable to members of An Fóras Cosanta Áitiúil are at present under review.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that a period of over 20 years has elapsed since the introduction of this type of gratuity and that when I spoke on the Defence Estimate for 1971-72 the Minister for Defence promised to review the situation? Would the Parliamentary Secretary now inform the House when we can expect a decision on an upper adjustment?

I agree with the Deputy that it has been in excess of 20 years since the last increase in the gratuity was made. Recommendations for increased gratuities were submitted to the Department of Finance on 3rd February, 1971. In its third report, dated 17th January, 1972, the working party on army pay and allowances recommended increases in the gratuity with effect from 1st January, 1971. Therefore, I should imagine there will be a decision in the not-too-distant future. I am not trying to evade the issue and I believe the gratuity should be paid as soon as possible. That is as far as I can go at the moment.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that at this particular time in our history, because of the number who are volunteering for both our regular and other forces, it is necessary to give every attention to attracting suitable numbers?

I would agree.