Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has welcomed the opportunity offered by the announcement by Minister for Defence Simon Coveney that he will make a statement next week surrounding the issue of affiliation of Defence Forces representative bodies with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).
Teachta Brady said:
“I welcome the Minister for Defence’s comment that he hopes to make an announcement by the middle of next week on this issue. This offers the government the opportunity to bring the Defence Forces into line with what is seen as the norm in other European countries.
“Just this week, Minister Paschal Donohoe met with representatives from other public sector bodies in advance of public sector pay talks. But yet again the representative bodies of the Defence Forces were absent from the room. This has repeatedly placed the Defence Forces at a disadvantage.
“If the Minister for Defence is serious about tackling the issues of retention and recruitment in the Defence Forces, he cannot afford to sit on the fence any longer when it comes to the issue of ICTU affiliation.
“It remains a key issue for members of the Defence Forces.
“There is currently a dysfunctional cycle of turnover which is impacting on the capacity of the Defence Forces to carry out their core functions.
“The Report from the Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces has recommended that representative bodies be allowed to affiliate with ICTU, and as the Minister has said in response to Dáil questions by me, he has received legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter.
“I again urge the Minister to use this occasion to grant approval for the representative bodies to affiliate with ICTU.”