The Social Democrats have made a submission to the Commission on the Defence Forces, describing it as an opportunity to evolve Ireland’s current defence and security framework so it can meet future challenges.
Cian O’Callaghan TD, the party’s spokesperson for Defence, said:
“Our primary recommendation is for the Commission to develop and adopt a comprehensive National Defence and Security Policy that can help steer Ireland’s decision-making process, co-ordinate and pool resources, create synergies and leadership, and combine siloed budgets.
“International assessments of future defence and security issues indicate that an increase in world population growth and the effects of climate change are looming challenges in the 21st Century. We cannot be left behind and must be prepared for future emergencies similar to Covid-19.
“The role played by the Defence Forces since the foundation of the Irish State has secured economic, political and social freedoms for all. Ireland’s Defence Forces have served in some of the most unstable regions abroad and have been world leaders in maintaining peace.
“It is critical that this Commission identifies and addresses some of the most prevalent issues facing the Defence Forces, including inadequate pay and working arrangements for personnel, procurement and living conditions.”
Commenting on the Social Democrats’ submission, Cllr Chris Pender spoke of the need to support veterans, saying:
“As a nation we must develop a strategy to meet the needs of veterans. Members have left and will in future leave the Defence Forces with lifelong or long-term injury, illnesses, mental health problems, and/or PTSD from their service. Others simply fall on hard times. We can no longer allow these people to fall through the cracks.”
March 22, 2021