Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence

Reserve Defence Forces: Discussion

9:45 am

Photo of Gabrielle McFaddenGabrielle McFadden (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The witnesses are very welcome. We really appreciate that they have given up their time to come in. Deputy Jack Chambers must have read my scribbled notes because he said literally word for word everything I wanted to say. I commend the association on the work it has done on maintaining what it has and trying to build on it. The Vice Admiral reviving the office of director has probably helped. I would like to know why it was disbanded in first place, or who made that decision. I welcome that the pay process has been streamlined and I suppose that happened as a result of the director being put in place. I acknowledge the association's gratitude to the Vice Admiral, Mark Mellett, and the Assistant Chief of Staff, Peter O'Halloran. I am a bit parochial because he is based in Athlone and I am a bit parochial about Athlone.

I am concerned that there is not one person in Defence Forces with whom the association deals. I presume it is a principal officer that the association should be dealing with but that it does not have the name of anybody. Maybe this committee could do something and get the name of one person with whom the association could deal. I think after the last time the association was in, everybody made representations and things improved.

The association asked for political commitment and support. What specifically can we do to provide it with that support? Does the association literally think that the Department is blocking it and if so, why?

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