Published on 

Minister with responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., Addresses the 2017 Annual Delegate Conference of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association

  • · Increased pay for new recruits
  • · Commencement of over 300 promotions
  • · Review of Conciliation and Arbitration scheme

The Minister with responsibility for Defence Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D., today, (Tuesday 3rd October 2017) addressed the Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, (PDFORRA), in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

The Minister noted that levels of pay was a concern to the members of the Association. The Minister said “The Government is committed to improving the pay of all public servants through the implementation of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. Following the signing up of PDFORRA to this Agreement in March, their members have received backdated payments over the last few months. The bulk of the pay increases accruing to members of the Defence Forces have been focused on the lower paid – this is only right. I was particularly pleased that significant increases to the pay scales for new entrant and post 2013 general service recruits and privates were secured as part of a deal that was negotiated earlier this year by my Department and PDFORRA.” For example a new army 3 Star Private, or the naval service equivalent, following their recruitment and follow on training, which takes 17 weeks and 12 weeks respectively, can now expect minimum gross annual earnings of €27,000 (inclusive of military service allowance).

The Minister urged the members of PDFORRA to accept the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 which is with the members for ballot. He said “this will allow members to receive the first phase of pay increases of 1% on annualised salaries from 1 January 2018 and to avail of subsequent pay increases, ranging from between 5.75% to 7.25%, over the lifetime of the agreement.”

Minister Kehoe went on to say that “The Government is committed to maintaining the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel and recognises that a key challenge for the Defence Forces is to reach and maintain this strength. Historically high levels of recruitment are being pursued, over 800 personnel will be taken in by the end of this year. This includes general service recruits, apprentices, cadets and direct entry officers.”

The Minister went on to outline a range of further measures aimed at increasing the attractiveness of a career in the Defence Forces.

In welcoming the commencement of over 300 NCO promotions Minister said “these promotions will be significant in terms of filling vacancies within the establishment, while providing career development opportunities at an increased salary for personnel.”

Minister Kehoe went on to say that “I have also directed civil and military management to initiate a broader review of contracts for enlisted personnel within the Defence Forces. This will require careful consideration of the operational requirements of the Defence Forces and the personnel requirements to meet those requirements. A civil-military project team will bring forward recommendations for my consideration. PDFORRA will of course be invited to make a submission to the project team.”

In addressing the concerns of PDFORRA in relation to the application of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, to Permanent Defence Force personnel, he said “the Government is committed to bringing the Defence Forces within the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. That work is significant, considerable detailed work has been undertaken to date, legislation is being developed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and my Department will work closely with them.”
The Minister told the delegates that he had announced recently that he intended to initiate a review of the Conciliation and Arbitration scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force. This review will commence by the end of 2017.

In concluding the Minister said “The range of measures relating to contracts, promotions and the working time directive outlined today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to increasing the attractiveness of the Defence Forces and ensuring that it remains a career of choice.”

In conclusion the Minister wished the delegates every success for the future and a successful conference.