Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has raised the need for better pay and conditions for members of the defence forces with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. and Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe T.D.

Senator Hopkins stated, “I know many members of the defence forces and fully understand their frustrations in relation to pay and conditions. We need to see increased pay and improved conditions in order to improve retention within the force and also to attract new recruits. Members of the defence forces are among the lowest paid in the civil service at present. The independent pay commission is looking at this matter presently, it is expected that they will publish their report in the coming weeks.”

“Following the publication of that report, I want to see swift action on this issue. At present members of the defence forces and their families are relying on family income supplement in order to receive a decent wage. This is totally unacceptable.”

Senator Hopkins continued, “Members of the defence forces locally provide a crucial service for all of us across this region in the air ambulance which is located at Custume Baracks in Athlone. We need to see this service further developed and that can only happen with appropriate staffing resources.”

Senator Hopkins concluded, “Our defence forces have a very proud history. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that they have a strong future also. I will continue to raise this issue with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Kehoe until we see improved pay and conditions.”