Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Priority Questions.

Defence Forces Allowances.

2:00 pm

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Kerry North, Fine Gael)
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Question 5: To ask the Minister for Defence when a decision will be made on the proposed increase in overseas allowances for the Defence Forces in view of the Chad mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13737/08]

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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A claim for an increase in overseas allowance was received from the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association and the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers, under the conciliation and arbitration scheme, C & A scheme, for members of the Permanent Defence Force. The claim has been the subject of correspondence between the Department and the representative associations. The Deputy will appreciate that as discussions under the C & A scheme are confidential to the parties involved, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this time, other than to say that the claim is being addressed within the terms of the social partnership agreement, Towards 2016.

The current rate of overseas peace support allowance payable to enlisted personnel serving overseas ranges from €56.93 to €60.98, per day. In addition to this, an overseas armed peace support allowance of €23.00 per day is payable for certain missions.

The current rate of overseas peace support allowance payable to officers serving overseas ranges from €74.60 to €82.08, per day. In addition to this, an overseas armed peace support allowance of €24.11 per day is payable for certain missions.

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Kerry North, Fine Gael)
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Given that the Chad mission will be different from missions to Liberia, Bosnia or Lebanon because of the different terrain and the challenges it will face, surely a decision should be made on the overseas allowance before the Defence Forces go to Chad. As I understand it, a 5% offer is on the plate. To a private that would mean about €4, which is derisory. I understand that at a PDFORRA conference last year the Minister gave an indication that if a proposal was put forward for 15% he would look favourably on it. In view of the difference between this mission and missions to Liberia, Bosnia, Lebanon and elsewhere a determination should be made on the increase in the allowance as soon as possible. It is not that our Defence Forces are asking for it, but it would show an appreciation of the work they are doing and the challenges they face. While they are in the Army to undertake missions such as this, at the same time they must be rewarded and acknowledged as much as possible.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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I ask Members to ensure their telephones are turned off, please.

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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Irish troops are deployed on missions in many locations throughout the world on pay and allowances that are not established by reference to any particular mission. They are established in the normal course, including through discussions through the conciliation and arbitration scheme. That is the way the process operates. There is no unnecessary prolonging of the negotiations in this case. My Department and the Department of Finance are available to both associations for discussion on the matter.

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Kerry North, Fine Gael)
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It is not because they are going to Chad, I realise there are other missions, but could the overseas claim be determined as soon as possible to coincide with the mission to Chad?

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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I would like to see this matter proceed as quickly as possible. My Department and the Department of Finance are available to both associations. Let us try to get moving on this issue as quickly as possible.