The Deputy will be aware that the Public Service Pay Commission was established by the Government in 2016 and tasked with examining pay levels across the public service. The commission made its first report to the Government in May 2017; we are debating that report today.
In respect of the Defence Forces, in its first report the pay commission noted that the force was experiencing a significant exit of trained and experienced personnel in areas such as engineering, ICT, pilots, avionic technicians and air traffic controllers, as well as encountering challenges in attracting direct entry personnel in specialist streams, including doctors, marine engineers and engineers.
In the context of these observations the commission, in its first report, suggested that:
consideration [should] be given to commissioning a more comprehensive examination of underlying difficulties in recruitment and retention in those sectors and employment streams where difficulties are [clearly] evident.
As the Deputy will be aware, the first module was published by the commission in August 2018. The commission is currently examining recruitment and retention issues in the Defence Forces and certain other health grades and has not yet indicated a timeline for completion of this important module.