Statement by Cllr. Ken O’Flynn, Independent, General Election Candidate in Cork North-Central
Recent figures show more than 120 people working for the Defence Forces are in receipt of the Working Family Payment (WFP).
Reacting to this, Cllr Ken O’Flynn said “Our Defence Forces are in crisis, I have spoken with Defence Forces personnel and am shocked at the low levels of morale and pure despair they feel. Committed professionals who simply want to earn an honest wage to raise their families are in total despair at the lack of engagement by Government. To have one member of the Defence Forces on Working Family Payment is unacceptable, the fact that there are more than 120 on it shows the total disregard for our Defence Forces. How can any Government stand over this”?
“It’s absolutely disgraceful that anyone wearing the uniform of the state should be in receipt of such an allowance. I have no doubt that there are many more who are within a few Euros of falling into this category”.
“The on-going crisis in the Defence Forces sees morale at an all times low. Successive Governments are quick to jump on the PR band wagon of and highlight the international reputation of Defence Forces personnel on overseas service while they pay lip service to their commitment at home, as is evident from the recent review of the 2015 White Paper on Defence which showed an unacceptable lack of progress on its recommendations. Government has to respect those who underpin our democracy. ”
“I believe the time has now come to establish an Independent Commission to address the current issues impacting on the effectiveness of our Defence Forces while addressing the negative morale amongst members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps”. If elected to represent you in Dáil Éireann my support of any Government will be dependent on the establishment of an Independent Commission on the future of Defence with clear Terms of Reference that will;
1. Evaluate and Review the 2012 Defence Forces Reorganisation and address the lessons learnt.
2. Identify a Clear Recruitment and Retention Policy to ensure the minimum operational strength of 9500 is maintained.
3. Review of Pay and allowances to ensure National Minimum Wage for all rostered Security Duties.
4. Advance the role of the Reserve Defence Forces to allow for Operational Deployment at home and overseas.
5. Invest in Military Infrastructure in the areas of Training and Accommodation.
6. Develop Health Care cover for Defence Forces Personnel and their Families similar to the Garda scheme.
‘Our Defence Forces deserve better and I commit to being their advocate on Defence Matters’