The Public Service Pay Commission report on recruitment and retention in the defence forces, which has been accepted by Government, is a step in the right direction, Senator Maura Hopkins has said.

Commenting on the release of the report, Senator Hopkins stated, “These proposals are certainly a step in the right direction. The increase and return of allowances will confer an immediate benefit on defence forces members, should this proposal be accepted.”

“PDFORRA and other groups have provided very strong representation on this issue on behalf of their members and they should be commended for their constructive input. However, this is not the end of the process. There is a clear commitment in the report to look at technical pay and pay structures within the defence forces. This will require further engagement with representative bodies of the defence forces in the coming months.”

Senator Hopkins continued, “It is very clear that these proposals as they stand will deal with all of the issues around recruitment and retention in the defence forces. However, they will provide an immediate benefit from July 1st 2019 and put in place the structures for continued engagement.”

“Members of the defence forces locally provide a crucial service for all of us across this region with 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 essential that we have a properly staffed defence force in order to ensure continuation of the important services they provide. I will continue to raise this issue with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Paul Kehoe in order to see further improvements to pay and conditions.”