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'I think it's quite unusual': Ministers respond to President Higgins' Defence Forces pay speech

As president, Higgins is the supreme commander of the Defence Forces.

Image: Sam Boal via

AGRICULTURE MINISTER MICHAEL Creed said he found President Michael D Higgins’ comments on Defence Forces pay “quite unusual”.

In a speech yesterday at the annual Defence Force Values Awards, held at Áras an Uachtaráin, Higgins said that “serving men and women should have conditions including an income and prospects that are sufficient to provide for themselves and their families”.

As president, Higgins is the supreme commander of the Defence Forces. 

Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Creed was asked if it was right that Higgins made a direct intervention with a political matter. 

He responded: “I think it’s quite unusual.” 

Creed added that he was neither surprised nor annoyed by Higgins’ speech and added that the Defence Forces pay issue “has significant currency and has been recognised by Government also”. 

Speaking at the Fine Gael think-in in Cork this morning, Tánaiste Simon Coveney echoed Creed’s comments and said he didn’t have any “huge concerns” about President Higgins’ comments. He added that the president was “referencing a concern and frustration” which was shared by the Government.”

In June, Senior members of PDFORRA, which represents rank-and-file members of the Irish military, told an Oireachtas committee that morale in the Irish Defence Forces was “on the floor” due to a lack of investment. 

While changes introduced in July following the publication of the report of the Public Services Pay Commission promised a boost in the pay for the vast majority of personnel of between €602 and €675 per year, concerns have remained that not enough is being done to support staff. 

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