Thursday, 11 July 2019
Public Service Pay Commission Report on the Permanent Defence Force: Statements (Resumed)
I thank everyone who has contributed to this afternoon's debate. It is unfortunate that some Members have made accusations and then scurried out of the Chamber before the reply. To be fair to Deputy Boyd Barrett, he told me he had to leave early.
People have referred to the 96 cent per day increase. Members are all well-educated people. They should multiply 96 cent by 9,500 and see what they come up with. I can assure them it comes well below €10 million. This is not about 96 cent per day. I do not think any contributors, apart from Deputies Boyd Barrett and Barry and possibly Deputy Connolly, recognised the other allowances referred to in the report. No one acknowledged the outstanding adjudications. However, I was in opposition myself and I understand that it does not suit the narrative or the good news in the package.
Deputy Jack Chambers referred to the return in respect of the Department of Defence annual budget. When I was in his position in opposition, I used to have the same figures and would throw them out. It is very easy to do that - I did the exact same when I was in opposition - but when sitting on this side of the House, I am in a very different position and have responsibility. The Deputy should go back and look at the returns. They fall far short of the figure he has cited.
The Deputy referred to the routine maintenance of ships. He did not read the full statement from the Defence Forces press office, which came out on Monday night and which states the LÉ Eithneand LÉ Orlaare due for planned maintenance periods. If the Deputy is going to read a press release he should read the whole thing-----