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Displaying items by tag: PDforra

President of the Defence Forces representative body Pdforra has said conditions for members are so bad that 80 naval personnel are living on (ships), some of which were deemed to be unsuitable for accommodation when they were commissioned 35 years ago.

As The Irish Times reports, Mark Keane told the organisation’s annual conference in the Mount Wolseley Estate in Co Carlow yesterday that “soldiers, sailors and airmen” should have an accommodation allowance, similar to that available to gardaí, prison officers and fire officers.

However, accommodation was just one of a number of issues, including pay, promotion and medical care, which he said must be addressed to stem the outflow of key personnel from the Defence Forces generally.

Numbers in the Defence Forces have recently fallen by more than 600 to some 8,500, which he said was “well below the numbers required” to execute their tasks efficiently and safely.

He said numbers must be addressed as the “goodwill and esprit de corps is being eroded further as those left behind must pick up the pieces”.

The newspaper has more here on this story. 

Published in Navy

In an announced from the Government an action plan to deliver a €10 million package to restore pay to members of the Defence Forces.

As RTE reports, the Government said the package will immediately improve the take-home pay of members of the Defence Forces.

Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said work on the high-level plan to implement the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission would begin immediately.

He said the Government was committed to making steady improvements in pay to public servants but only to the extent that they are affordable and sustainable.

Minister of State with responsibility for the Defence Forces Paul Kehoe said the package was recognition by the Government of the challenges of recruitment and retention within the army, navy and air corps.

For more from the launch by the Minister of the new package click this link

Published in Navy

An organisation which represents enlisted personnel in the Defence Forces says it's "very sceptical" about the Department of Defence's claim that it will address the accommodation crisis at Naval Service headquarters "as a matter of urgency".

PDFORRA's president Mark Keane, writes The Irish Examiner, said plans to convert a Victorian-era block at Haulbowline Island were drawn up in 2014 and since then nothing had happened, even though more and more sailors are now sleeping on ships.

As far back as March 1992, the then Defence Forces Quartermaster General (equivalent today to a Deputy Chief of Staff) recommended that accommodation at military barracks should be adequate and "aspire to the standard within the civilian community generally".

Latest figures obtained from Defence Forces sources show more than 70 sailors are sleeping on ships at the naval base.

Many are young and so poorly paid they can't afford soaring rents and have no choice but to live on board the vessels they crew.

For further reading click this link. 

Published in Navy

#navy - Concerns have been played down by the Taoiseach as to the number of personnel quitting the Defence Forces has left the combined strength of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service at a 50-year low.

As The Irish Times writes, a high turnover is a normal feature of military organisations, Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday, as it emerged that more than 1,000 members have paid to leave the Defence Forces over the past five years.

The Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, noted in the Dáil statistics from PD-Forra, the largest military staff organisation, that 2,900 people had taken early retirement and 1,000 had paid the State a “discharge purchase”, averaging €300, to leave before their contracts expired.

Mr Varadkar reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring a full strength of 9,500 personnel and said 800 would be recruited this year. About 580 people leave every year, and “that’s been the case for the past decade”. The Taoiseach said “other military, such as the United Kingdom, are experiencing similar issues”.

To read more and that of the response of PD-forra, which represents sailors, airmen and soldiers, click here. 

Published in Navy

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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