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Snippet Contents:

That should be recognised in the context of pay and conditions. I urge the Government to consider this in the context of pay talks and the upcoming budget and seriously address the shortcomings and failures and look after those serving in our Defence Forces. We have no problem requesting that they respond to a humanitarian crisis, and they will always do so. We have no problem requesting that they respond to severe weather conditions and difficulties in our own country. There is no doubt we will have no problem in requesting that they scale up and come to the fore, if needed, in the event of a hard Brexit where our international waters and our boundaries will change. If we expect them to do this, we have to pay them properly but we do not do so. The Defences Forces are haemorrhaging people. If asked, they will do what they can but one cannot get blood from a stone. It is high time the Minister of State realised he is at the helm of what is a sinking organisation. The Taoiseach mentioned PESCO in his contribution. We need a properly resourced and fully functioning Defence Force to participate in PESCO. While many positive programmes are available to us, unless we get our own house in order, we will not be able to avail of them.
The situation in Hungary, where it is now an offence for citizens to help an asylum seeker or migrant, is outrageous and must be condemned by the Government. I trust, and I ask, that the Taoiseach and the Minister of State will raise this at the Council meeting with their counterparts and seek an EU response to such an inhumane and cruel law. It opposes every value on which the EU was founded. It goes against everything we believe in, in terms of basic human rights and dignity for people, and it cannot be permitted to persist in any member state.