The Social Democrats believe that the Defence Forces Review is an opportunity for the Government to evolve Ireland’s entire defence and security framework in order to meet future challenges.

Cian O’Callaghan TD, Social Democrats Spokesperson for Defence said on this:

“Since the foundation of the modern Irish State, the Irish Defence Forces have put themselves between the people of Ireland and harm’s way in order to defend and secure our economic, political and social freedoms.”

The Social Democrats have called for all necessary resources and time to be given to the Commission on the Defence Forces to do a thorough review.

Deputy O’Callaghan said:

“We are proposing that the Commission engage with all relevant parties across the entire defence spectrum. This includes the Department of Defence including the Office of Emergency Planning and Civil Defence as well as the Defence Forces themselves.

“The Commission should be talking to all voices. Serving personnel of all ranks: officers, line, specialists, technicians, chaplaincy, Personnel Support Service, and civilian support staff; representative bodies, and retired veterans’ organisations. The Commission should also speak to personnel who ended their career in the Defence Forces so we understand why we are losing capable people.”

“Underpaid, underequipped, and under-resourced, the men and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann have continuously put the people of Ireland first and their own security second.” Added Cllr Chris Pender chair of the Social Democrats Defence Force policy committee. “However, over the past decades, the operating environment for Defence Forces personnel has deteriorated: austerity, moratoriums, barrack closures, re-orgs, unit stand-downs and job losses have led to an operating culture of fear, distrust, insecurity, and poor morale.”

Social Democrats are calling for a holistic review of the Defence Forces that guarantees the input of personnel on the ground and sees their concerns and issues turned into solutions for the future.

5th March 2021

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