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Senator Gerard P. Craughwell

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I have spoken on the Defence Forces many times in the House. It pained me to walk through the gate of Leinster House this morning to find that the wives and partners of members of the Defence Forces would be camping outside for the next 24 hours. We must get a grip on what is happening. I will not criticise the Minister or anyone this morning. It just pains me to see what is going on outside the gate. These women left their children this morning, and the men who are out there with them left their families this morning, to travel here and spend 24 hours outside the gate. They are doing it to underpin the miserable terms and conditions of employment that we give to members of the Defence Forces. Some 4,500 members have walked out in seven years. We have no strategy for retention. We have no strategy for pay. We have no strategy for recruitment. Recruits are coming in one gate and going out the other.
I do not know how to solve the problem. I spoke on the issue of homelessness a couple of weeks ago in the Chamber. As with that, we cannot solve the problem simply by knocking lumps out of one another. We must find a way to work together on this.