Thursday, 13 June 2019

Ceisteanna (14)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

14. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Reserve Defence Force are being paid on average 18% less than the rates being given to their counterparts in the Permanent Defence Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24480/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (4 contributions) (Ceist ar Defence)

This question is about the Reserve Defence Force, RDF, pay, which is 18% below that of the PDF. Its strength is less than half the target in the White Paper. This is another shocking example of the decimation of numbers in our Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces. What is the Minister of State doing to address the serious issues that the representative association has outlined?

Prior to the financial emergency, the pay scales applying to the PDF also applied to the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve. The pay cuts that applied to the PDF also applied to the RDF. The rates applicable to the Army reserve and Naval Service reserve were also subjected to a reduction of 10% under the Haddington Road agreement or the public service stability agreement, PSSA, 2013-2016. The restoration of pay is ongoing and is being conducted in accordance with PSSA 2013-2018 and PSSA 2018-2020 and with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Contact is ongoing between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure that the correct pay restoration is applied to both the Army reserve and Naval Service reserve. I have asked my officials to expedite this matter. 

The Minister of State did not respond to the issue of the decimation of numbers within the reserve and the fact that the pay difficulties are undermining its core strength. Due to the reorganisation of the RDF, there has been massive geographical dilution and a removal of members in large areas of the State. What is the Minister of State doing to address that and to rectify the difficulties?

We will not have a reserve within a decade unless the Minister of State reverses some of his White Paper targets and increases numbers.

I have always encouraged Members to apply to join the Reserve Defence Force. In some parts of the country it is strong and in other parts of the country it is weak.

Deputy Chambers has raised an exact issue with me. As I have stated, there is ongoing contact between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure that the correct pay restoration is applied to both the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve. I have asked the officials in my Department to have this matter expedited as soon as possible. I understand that it is a matter of urgency. I have been in contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the matter as well. I raised it directly with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, at one of my most recent meetings and sought to have this issue addressed as soon as possible.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.