Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Defence, Seán Crowe, has called on the Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe, to deal with the recruitment and retention crisis with the urgency that it deserves.

Speaking after he raised the issue with the Minister in the Dáil, Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“We are currently seeing a huge exodus of personnel from the Defence Forces.

“Recruitment and retention have been all but impossible due to government inaction, poor pay, and cut after cut to allowances that Defence Forces members rely on to make a living.

“It is also because of the extremely poor working conditions faced by the Defence Forces due to government neglect, which includes a serious lack of appropriate accommodation.

“The Defence Forces have a designated strength of 9,500 but currently there are now only 8,653 personnel. 

“This is a full-blown recruitment and retention crisis and morale is on the floor.

“This crisis was created by successive Fine Gael governments and with the support of Fianna Fáil for the last three and half years.

“This crisis is undermining the work of the Defence Forces and the security of the State. In 2019 to date 558 members of the Defence Forces have left and the current turnover rate is over 10%.

“Small increases in pay and allowances won’t be enough to stem the degradation of Defence Forces numbers and capabilities.

“Minister Kehoe needs to get serious about this massive crisis. He needs to urgently deal with the core pay issue and put in place radical and innovative measures backed by significant investment.”