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Defence Forces (Evidence) Bill 2019

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Defence Forces (Evidence) Bill 2019

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Snippet Contents:

I am making my comments on the Bill but it would be remiss of me not to support our good soldiers and the military police. I have acknowledged the work they do here but the Defence Forces do not have the numbers. We heard only last week of the crisis in the Air Corps which does gallant work. It will not have pilots to fly the military helicopters. Twice in the past 12 months the Defence Forces on peacekeeping duty have been abandoned and could not get home to their families and loved ones after their six-month stint, with cock-ups here and there. This should not happen. With military precision these things would not and should not happen, if the Minister of State had his eye on the ball and he cared enough about the Defence Forces. I know constituents who were looking forward to coming home for first communions, confirmations and weddings but were held up as they were doing their tour of duty, leaving their loved ones waiting for them. We got glib answers when we asked the question as much as to say we should not be asking it. I will always stand up for members of the Defence Forces because I know what they do. The Government is giving them paltry pay, below the minimum wage and the family income supplement hardly keeps them going. An army cannot march on an empty belly in a time of war. The members of the Army have to have the wherewithal and the tools of the trade to provide for their families and to put a roof over their heads, which is a noble gesture.
It is the same for the Garda Síochána. We heard blunder and bluster this morning from the Minister for Justice and Equality about all the new policies. I met a garda outside this building today. She told me she was sent up here to mind us but her duty today was in Temple Bar, as a community garda. There was only one squad car and two gardaí along with her and she was sent up here. That is shocking in the capital city. That is going on in every corner of Ireland and the Government thinks it can wipe it away. That was told to me today at approximately 11.45 a.m. after I had questioned the Minister for Justice and Equality.