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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Irish Defence Forces Tánaiste Micheál Martin at an event to mark the 68th Infantry deploying to Syria today.
Defence Forces

Rank and file defence group gives 'cautious' welcome for military medical care scheme

The measure was a key recommendation in the Commission on Defence Forces report which looked at modernisation of the Irish military.

A GROUP REPRESENTING enlisted military personnel has cautiously welcomed news that a private medical care scheme will be rolled out for the Defence Forces. 

Yesterday the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin announced that the scheme was getting underway.

The Tánaiste had previously announced that the initiative had been agreed in principle at the PDFORRA Annual Delegate Conference in May. Until this announcement private medical care was only available to commissioned officers.

The measure was a key recommendation in the Commission on Defence Forces report which looked at modernisation of the Irish military.

PDFORRA, which represents all soldiers, aircrew and sailors below officer rank has said in a statement that they will need to examine the scheme. The group had been campaigning for the introduction of the measure.

“Whilst we welcome any measures that may aid in the retention of and recruitment of new entrants into the Defence forces, the devil will be in the details. We look forward to engaging with all the stakeholders to ensure that this comes to fruition.

“As this was first announced at our ADC in May, and PDFORRA looks forward to meeting with the minister and the department to see what has been proposed and how it will be enacted,” the statement read. 

The Department of Defence said it will allow all personnel to avail of referrals to private consultants when deemed clinically necessary by an examining medical officer.

“This initiative, which is in addition to the comprehensive package of primary healthcare benefits already available to all members, will be of great benefit to all personnel in the Permanent Defence Force.

“The roll out continues the significant progress being made in making a career in our Defence Forces exciting and rewarding,” the Tánaiste said.

The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lt General Sean Clancy also welcomed the announcement and said it “demonstrated real progress”.

Meanwhile the Tánaiste and the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy, reviewed the men and women of the 68 Infantry Group ahead of their departure for a six-month deployment to Syria as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The deployment will see 133 Irish troops deploy to Syria – it will be the last UNDOF mission by Ireland. 

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