Do you think members of the defence forces should be paid more money?
An Irish soldier, his wife, and their four children are currently homeless as they struggle to make ends meet – despite his 17 years with the Defence Forces, and her part-time job.
The family, who wish to remain anonymous, includes four children aged 11 and under, one of whom has a rare genetic disorder which results in a range of physical problems.
The defence forces corporal said he is heartbroken and trying to wear a brave face every day but is worried sick.
He said he works damn hard and his family don’t deserve to be homeless. He is due to travel abroad on a mission with a UN peacekeeping force in the near future.
The family’s plight was highlighted in a statement from the Wives & Partners of the Defence Forces (WPDF) group.
WPDF has previously protested about pay and conditions in the Defence Forces, saying the families of many lower paid members are so financially stretched that they are using social welfare financial supports to make ends meet.
The mother in this situation said the pay in the Defence Forces is ‘dreadful’ and added that her husband has been subject to pay cuts.
Since cuts in 2009, basic pay for a private in the Defence Forces starts at €352 a week and rises after eight years’ service to a total package of €670 a week. They qualify for the HAP scheme but said they cannot find a landlord to accept it. The family, from Co Kildare, were recently informed by their landlord that he was selling the house.
Concerns have been raised over drop-off in Defence Forces numbers. The Defence Forces has an approved establishment strength of 9,500.
However despite a significant recruitment campaign during 2016, there are fewer members now then there were at the end of 2015. The reason for the drop off is the pay and conditions.
Do you think the defence forces deserve a pay increase? Or do you believe our force is pointless and paying more would just be a burden on the country.
Should members of the defence forces be paid better?