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Rank-and-file soldiers formally accept Public Service Pay Commission recommendations

Minister of State Paul Kehoe said it will result in immediate benefits for members.

Image: Sam Boal

RANK-AND-FILE soldiers have backed a new pay deal by formally accepting the report by the Public Services Pay Commission.

The national executive of PDFORRA ratified the decision this evening.

PDFORRA general secretary Gerald Guinan said the decision was made despite some reservations.

He said: “The Executive do not believe that the recommendations go far enough and many feel that the Government will undoubtedly have to come back with additional increases in order to stem the outflow of personnel from the Defence Forces.

However, despite the reluctance, the Executive firmly believe that ratification was necessary in light of the impending potential adverse impact of BREXIT on the public finances and the prospect of having to secure the recommended restorative measures prior to the commencement of the next National Pay Talks, when Government finances could be much tighter.

Guinan added that PDFORRA will continue to fight for proper increases in duty allowances given the increased workload on members.

Reacting to the news, Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe said:

“I am delighted that PDFORRA, which represents thousands of soldiers, sailors and air crew, has accepted the findings of the Independent Pay Commission. This will result in immediate benefits for their members.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in a statement that the package agreed will “make a real difference to salaries for our Defence Forces” and that increases will paid before Christmas.

Among the recommendations include in the pay commission’s report is a 10% increase in Military Service Allowance (MSA), which will see earnings of the majority of permanent Defence Force personnel increase by between €602 and €675 per annum.

The full restoration to pre-Haddington Road levels of the Security Duty Allowance and Patrol Duty Allowance is also agreed.

Soldiers will also see the restoration of the premium rates for certain weekend duties, and the reversal of the 10% cut in the Overseas Allowance.

Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (Raco) have already accepted the offer. 

The Permanent Defence Forces has a designated strength of 9,500 but currently there are only 8,653 personnel. 

There have been 558 discharges in 2019. 

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