Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Defence Matters: Statements
I welcome the Minister of State to the House and join other speakers in commending our armed forces on the role they have played in the development of the State and in service on United Nations missions overseas. I share the pride of many in that service as well as the concern others have spoken of in great detail about the conditions under which Defence Forces' personnel must work.It is imperative that those who serve the country in this way are properly remunerated and supported and that there is an opportunity to let their collective voice be expressed. I know there are prohibitions on what they can do in that regard but it is important that they be heard. The working time directive will provide another chance to ensure we move towards serving in this way being a genuine and a liveable option. Some parts of the expenditure the Minister of State outlined will address pay and pension issues. Nobody would argue with that except to say we need more resources in those areas.
The Minister of State also mentioned capital expenditure. It would be good to have a sense of what that involves. Are there plans for a multi-role vehicle, which is a big ticket item. I know it was discussed. It is a real concern because it is not normally compatible with our previous peacekeeping work. Perhaps the Minister of State could indicate whether that is on the agenda.