Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has welcomed the High Court settlement that will allow the Defence Forces representative body PDFORRA to have temporary associate membership with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).
The decision to allow temporary association is to permit PDFORRA participate in the upcoming public pay talks, and will run until June 2024, or until legislation is introduced in the Dáil.
The Wicklow TD said:
“I want to welcome this latest development. It is a huge victory for PDFORRA, who have campaigned tirelessly for years to ensure that the ordinary members of the Defence Forces, could enjoy the same rights as other frontline workers.
“I want to offer my sincerest congratulations to PDFORRA for their tireless efforts, and for their patience and perseverance in the face of the many roadblocks which were thrown up in their way by the government.
“There is no doubt that, despite the Minister’s best efforts, that this decision will impact positively on recruitment and retention for the Defence Forces. The next step now needs to be the full implementation of the working time directive for all members of the defence forces.
“There is an onus now on the Minister to act to ensure that RACO are afforded the same rights of affiliation.
“What the High Court has done here is to simply afford the same rights to members of the Irish defence forces, that their European counterparts have enjoyed for quite some time.
“The campaign by PDFORRA to be allowed affiliation with ICTU goes back almost 30 years. The denial of that right placed service personnel at a huge disadvantage, as they had no representation at public pay talks up to now.
“The Minister could have made this decision at any time during the period of his tenure at the Department of Defence but for whatever reason he chose not to. In the end, it was up to the High Court to pull him over the line on the issue.
“The next step is for the government to introduce the appropriate amendments to enshrine this decision permanently.”