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Minister with responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., Addresses the

24th Annual Delegate Conference of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association

The Minister with responsibility for Defence Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D., today, (Tuesday 4th October 2016) addressed the Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, (PDFORRA), in Cork.

In his address to the Conference, Minister Kehoe paid tribute to the Defence Forces, acknowledging their high profile throughout the 1916 celebrations and thanked all members of the Defence Forces for the contribution they have made in honouring our forbears and lending honour, dignity and respect to all the commemorative ceremonies this year. The Minister also acknowledged the value, importance and significance placed by the Government on the tremendous work being done by members of the Defence Forces in many parts of the world today.

Turning to the issue of pay, Minister Kehoe stated that “I am committed to ensuring that members of the PDF are fully recompensed fairly and transparently in the same manner as the members of all other Associations who have signed up to the LRA. While I understand that your Association has not to date signed up to the LRA, I cannot stress enough the need to sign up to the Agreement so as to avail of its protections and the programmed restoration of pay cuts. The LRA provides the vehicle whereby the terms and conditions of your members can be restored in a sustainable and ongoing manner”. Adding that he respected the fact that PDFORRA members are fully compliant with all of the provisions of the agreements reached to date, the Minister also referred to the positive engagement by PDFORRA in ongoing discussions with his officials with a view to clarifying a number of technical points so as to enable the agreement to be put to a vote of the members.

During his address, the Minister reiterated his commitment to maintaining the established strength of the Permanent Defence Force. “Since coming into Office, I have made it clear that one of my key priorities is ensuring we have a fully staffed Defence Forces in accordance with its establishment. I am working directly with the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General in the Department to ensure that the strength of 9,500 is reached as soon as possible”, the Minister said.

The current General Service recruitment campaign, which was launched in April this year, envisaged an intake of approximately 600 General Services Recruits in 2016. Some 282 General Service Recruits have been enlisted to date, with a further 320 recruits to be enlisted by year end. An Air Corps Apprentice Aircraft Technician competition was launched in August 2016, from which it is planned to enlist 25 candidates later this year. The Minister added “there are plans in place to continue this phased General Service recruitment in 2017, in a manner designed to reach the established strength figure. I am fully committed to achieving the establishment figure for the Defence Forces.”

In conclusion, the Minister paid particular tribute to the outgoing PDFORRA General Secretary Mr. Gerry Rooney acknowledging that “Gerry has defined how the Association conducts itself and of how highly it is perceived within the IR community. Much of your Association’s achievements can be directly linked to Gerry’s style and way of doing business. He will be a real loss to Ireland’s Defence community”. The Minister also congratulated the incoming General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary.

The Minister wished Gerry Rooney and the delegates every success for the future and a successful and fruitful conference.

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