Work is well underway to apply the provisions of the Directive to members of the Permanent Defence Force. The Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have already undertaken significant work in examining the application of the Working Time Directive. It is necessary to ensure that all work arrangements meet all of the provisions of the Directive, including arrangements to manage changes in work practices.
The application of the Directive will involve a fundamental change in working conditions that have been in place for many years. It is a complex arrangement that requires considerable thought to ensure that on the one hand, employees' right are recognised and, on the other, that the Defence Forces continue to provide the varied roles assigned to them by Government.
The Department of Defence is currently engaging through the Conciliation and Arbitration process with the Defence Forces Representative Associations, RACO and PDFORRA, to discuss the application of the Working Time Directive to the Permanent Defence Force. A Working Group has been formed for this purpose.
Concurrently, Department is engaging with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on required legislative changes. The Department of Justice and Equality is also a key stakeholder in this process.
Litigation taken by a member of the Permanent Defence Force in respect of the applicability of certain elements of the Working Time Directive to the Defence Forces was settled recently in the High Court having regard to the specific circumstances of that case. Further litigation in relation to the Working Time Directive as it relates to the Defence Forces is pending.
For these reasons it would not be appropriate to comment further.