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LÉ Eithne crew 'not being paid properly' for Mediterranean mission

Crew members are entitled to a higher daily allowance, according to an association representing personnel.

Image: Defence Forces

Updated at 8.50pm

THE CREW OF the LÉ Eithne is not being paid the allowances it is entitled to, an association representing Naval Service personnel has said.

The Permanent Defence Forces Other Ranks’ Representative Association (PDFORRA) is calling on the Department of Defence to increase the daily support allowance it pays crew members engaged in rescue work in the Mediterranean.

Naval Service personnel are currently entitled to a tax-exempt allowance of €76 per day for armed operations and €55 per day for unarmed operations.

LÉ Eithne crew members have been paid the standard allowance for unarmed missions since the vessel was deployed.

Rejected application

The general secretary of PDFORRA, Gerry Rooney, told TheJournal.ie that the Department of Defence rejected its initial request that personnel be paid the higher rate for armed operations.

Crew should be entitled to the higher allowance as the ship itself is armed, he said.

The Naval Service and the crew of the LÉ Eithne are conducting their duties in an extremely professional manner. It involves a great deal of commitment in quite unprecedented circumstances.

Rooney said he was surprised that the gulf between the two sides was so large and that the PDFORRA received no offer on its second request for an allowance increase.

The association has now requested that the matter be adjudicated by an independent third party, he told TheJournal.ie.

19239312801_dc3a22df9f_z Source: Defence Forces

The Representative Association of Commissioned Officers, which represents senior-ranked officers, has also requested additional payments for its members.

Naval service officers are entitled to an overseas peace support allowance of up to €102 per day for armed missions and up to €80 per day for non-armed missions.

Conciliation

The LÉ Eithne crew has saved nearly 3,400 migrants since it began search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean just under two months ago.

In a statement, the Department of Defence said the claims made by both associations are currently being processed through its conciliation and arbitration scheme.

“As such matters are confidential to that process, it would be inappropriate for the Minister to make any public comment on these pay claims,” it said.

Read: ‘The Mediterranean will become Europe’s graveyard’ >

Read: LÉ Eithne to be recalled from Mediterranean in a month’s time >

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Catherine Healy

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