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 Header Item Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2017: First Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Topical Issue Matters
 Header Item Defence Forces: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan] Our primary function in this House is to draft laws to improve the country. Let us look at how we can change the law to ensure the events which were disclosed two weeks ago do not happen again, or if there are such issues in the pipeline that the relevant authorities would be made aware of them promptly.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the Bill opposed?

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Topical Issue Matters

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 29A and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Ruth Coppinger - the dispute between the FAI and the national women's soccer team; (2) Deputy Joan Collins - the supply of Orkambi for cystic fibrosis patients; (3) Deputy Mary Butler - the provision of essential equipment by the HSE for a disabled child; (4) Deputy Niamh Smyth - the impact of the closure of Ulster Bank branches; (5) Deputy Willie Penrose - the funding for an extension at Mullingar Educate Together national school; (6) Deputy Michael D'Arcy - an affordable housing strategy for low to average earners; (7) Deputy Martin Kenny - the sale of an IDA site at Kilgarry; (8) Deputy Carol Nolan - the operation of the fair deal scheme in relation to farm land; (9) Deputies Fiona O'Loughlin and Pat Buckley - youth worker and counselling services in Rathangan; (10) Deputy Charlie McConalogue - the recruitment of a paediatric consultant endocrinologist for the Letterkenny and Sligo area; (11) Deputy Brendan Smith - a school building project in Cootehill, County Cavan; (12) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the patient accommodation at South Tipperary General Hospital; (13) Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett - building inflation costs in the education sector; (14) Deputies Mick Wallace and Clare Daly - the reopening of the Irish embassy in Iran; and (15) Deputy Thomas Pringle - the closure of the diabetes treatment clinic in Letterkenny.

The matters raised by Deputy Ruth Coppinger, Deputy Brendan Smith, Deputy Mary Butler and Deputies Fiona O'Loughlin and Pat Buckley have been selected for discussion.

Defence Forces: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Lisa Chambers on Tuesday, 4 April 2017:

That Dáil Éireann:

acknowledges the pride that Irish people take in the Defence Forces and the contribution made by the Permanent Defence Force, the Reserve Defence Force and Civil Defence;

remembers those members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the State, including those on overseas peacekeeping missions;

agrees that the single greatest asset the Defence Forces have is their personnel;

recognises that the dedication and professionalism manifested by the Defence Forces is inspiring;

compliments the Defence Forces on their central role in marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising;

believes that a career in the Defence Forces is a form of patriotism that provides an outstanding example to all of Irish society;

welcomes the publication of a new White Paper on Defence in 2015;

notes that:
- the current allowed strength of the Defence Forces at 9,500 has stretched its ability to fulfil their assigned roles and maintain a credible contingent capability;

- the current effective strength of the Defence Forces is below 9,000;

- the geographical deployment of the Defence Forces is uneven;

- concentrating the majority of the Defence Forces in the east and south of the country removes the traditional place of the military with and from Irish society, ignores organisational linkages and histories, and erodes geographical and family military service traditions;

- the expressed view of one representative organisation in the Defence Forces that there are problems in a range of areas, including commuting, work-life balance and stress, and that morale is at the lowest it has been for some time, with comradeship and brotherhood fading;

- the significant difficulties that the Defence Forces have in the retention of personnel;

and

- the widespread belief that the 2012 reorganisation has not been a success;
 further notes that:
- the effective membership of the Reserve Defence Force fell from 2,280 to 2,049 during 2016 and has fallen further to 1,970 this year;

- if the net loss of 200 members, that the Reserve Defence Force experienced last year, continues into the future it will cease to exist by 2026 and it is likely that it will be seen as impractical to sustain long before that; and

- the single force concept has not benefited the Reserve Defence Force; agrees that:

- Ireland needs a defence policy that is measured, fit for purpose and appropriately resourced;

- Irish defence spending is very low, even by the standards of neutral countries;

- at €639 million in 2015, defence expenditure, excluding pensions, amounted to just 0.25 per cent of gross domestic product, GDP; and

- a low level of resources is not ultimately consistent with a credible defence policy;
and

calls for:
- military professionals to be allowed play a meaningful and worthwhile role in the formulation of policy advice to the Government;

- reservists to be allowed play a meaningful and worthwhile role in support of the Permanent Defence Force;

- annual updates on the implementation of the 2015 White Paper to be provided to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence;

- consultation with the representative organisations in the Defence Forces on the practicalities of implementing the 2015 White Paper;

- a review of legislation and Defence Forces’ regulations governing the Reserve Defence Force;

- regular recruitment campaigns for both the Permanent Defence Force and the Reserve Defence Force and new retention initiatives;

- the reinstatement of Defence as a lead portfolio in the Cabinet;

- the restoration of the Army to a three brigade structure by re-establishing the 4th Western Brigade based in Custume Barracks, Athlone;

- the establishment and strength of the Permanent Defence Force to be increased to 10,500 personnel across the Army, the Air Corps and the Naval Service by 2021; and

- renewed efforts to ensure that the Reserve Defence Force reaches its establishment strength of 4,069.

Amendment No. 1 to the motion was moved on Tuesday, 4 April 2017 by Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh:

1. (a) To insert the following after "publication of a new White Paper on Defence in 2015;":
"acknowledges that the State has a duty of care to all its enlisted men and women, in terms of health and safety and pay and conditions while they are serving with the Defence Forces, and to ensure their health needs are catered for after serving their full contract especially if it has been affected by the rigours of service, including overseas deployment;"
(b) To insert the following after "effective strength of the Defence Forces is below 9,000;":
"- the 2015 White Paper on Defence commits to maintaining the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service personnel, yet as of 28 February 2017, the strength of the Permanent Defence Force stands at 9,070, whole-time equivalents, that is, 7,293 Army, 701 Air Corps and 1,076 Naval Service personnel;

- the current efforts to recruit personnel into the Defence Forces is falling well short of what is required and that in total, 590 general service recruits, 501 Army and 89 Naval Service recruits, were inducted in 2016, along with 100 cadets between all services and that to date in 2017, 106 general service recruits, 103 Army and three Naval Service recruits, and ten Air Corps trainee military aircraft technicians have been inducted, which fails to make-up the short-fall from personnel who have retired or left the service, thus negating the impact of any current recruitment drive;

- the significant turnover of personnel in the Permanent Defence Force can in part be directly attributed to cuts in pay and allowances that have contributed to low morale and the loss of experienced personnel in the three services, resulting in a serious skills deficit, particularly in the Air Corps which has lost 12 air traffic controllers since 2012;

- the starting salary for a private in the Army is €21,000 a year and new entrants and enlisted personnel are so badly paid that an estimated 7,000 are in receipt of family income supplement;" and
(c) To insert the following after “reaches its establishment strength of 4,069":
"- Ireland to remain exempt from having to increase its spending on weapons and military capabilities from 0.6% to 2% of GDP through the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy; and

- the closure of Ireland’s liaison office to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, and the Partnership for Peace delegation saving the State an average of €450,000 annually; and

further agrees to:

- address the disparity in pay for new recruits whose weekly take home pay is under €300 and that this could be achieved by reversing the reduction in new entrants pay and allowances by 10%;

- re-examine:
- the flat rate security duty allowance and related payments which had been paid to Defence Forces personnel at the standard weekday rate prior to the cuts;

- the 10% reduction in certain Defence Forces allowances;

- the voluntary buyout of border duty allowances for enlisted personnel; and

- the additional incremental points in pay scales for new enlisted personnel posts;

- reflect in law the European Court of Human Rights ruling ECHR 280 (2014) which found that the blanket ban on trade unions within the armed forces is a violation of Article 11, freedom of assembly and association, of the European Convention on Human Rights;

- increase the level of female participation, with the goal of doubling the rate of participation from the current 6% to 12% in the next three years;

- allow Defence Forces personnel the option of serving an additional four years’ service upon completion of their 21 years contract, as was the case prior to 1997; and

- the development of employment schemes involving the Defence Forces targeting young people in the 18 to 24 age group."

Debate resumed on amendment to amendment No. 1:

  That 1(c) be deleted.

             - (Deputy Lisa Chambers)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion regarding Standing Order 149. On the question that the amendment to amendment No. 1 be agreed to, a division was claimed and, in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must now be taken.

Amendment to amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 84; Staon, 0.

Níl    Staon
Information on John Brassil  Zoom on John Brassil  Brassil, John. Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Adams, Gerry.    
Information on Declan Breathnach  Zoom on Declan Breathnach  Breathnach, Declan. Information on Maria Bailey  Zoom on Maria Bailey  Bailey, Maria.    
Information on James Browne  Zoom on James Browne  Browne, James. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.    
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Mick Barry  Zoom on Mick Barry  Barry, Mick.    
Information on Mary Butler  Zoom on Mary Butler  Butler, Mary. Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard.    
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Colm Brophy  Zoom on Colm Brophy  Brophy, Colm.    
Information on Jackie Cahill  Zoom on Jackie Cahill  Cahill, Jackie. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.    
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Buckley  Zoom on Pat Buckley  Buckley, Pat.    
Information on Pat Casey  Zoom on Pat Casey  Casey, Pat. Information on Peter Burke  Zoom on Peter Burke  Burke, Peter.    
Information on Shane Cassells  Zoom on Shane Cassells  Cassells, Shane. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.    
Information on Jack Chambers  Zoom on Jack Chambers  Chambers, Jack. Information on Seán Canney  Zoom on Seán Canney  Canney, Seán.    
Information on Lisa Chambers  Zoom on Lisa Chambers  Chambers, Lisa. Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciarán.    
Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael. Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan.    
Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry. Information on Ruth Coppinger  Zoom on Ruth Coppinger  Coppinger, Ruth.    
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy  Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy  Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.    
Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen S. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.    
Information on Timmy Dooley  Zoom on Timmy Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Seán Crowe  Zoom on Seán Crowe  Crowe, Seán.    
Information on Michael Fitzmaurice  Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice  Fitzmaurice, Michael. Information on David Cullinane  Zoom on David Cullinane  Cullinane, David.    
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D'Arcy, Michael.    
Information on Michael Harty  Zoom on Michael Harty  Harty, Michael. Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare.    
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim.    
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.    
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat.    
Information on John Lahart  Zoom on John Lahart  Lahart, John. Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse.    
Information on James Lawless  Zoom on James Lawless  Lawless, James. Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal.    
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.    
Information on Marc MacSharry  Zoom on Marc MacSharry  MacSharry, Marc. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.    
Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál. Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie.    
Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.    
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan.    
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.    
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.    
Information on Aindrias Moynihan  Zoom on Aindrias Moynihan  Moynihan, Aindrias. Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter.    
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Kathleen Funchion  Zoom on Kathleen Funchion  Funchion, Kathleen.    
Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony  Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony  Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret. Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan.    
Information on Eugene Murphy  Zoom on Eugene Murphy  Murphy, Eugene. Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon.    
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O'Brien, Darragh. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.    
Information on Jim O'Callaghan  Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan  O'Callaghan, Jim. Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin.    
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O'Dea, Willie. Information on Heather Humphreys  Zoom on Heather Humphreys  Humphreys, Heather.    
Information on Kevin O'Keeffe  Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe  O'Keeffe, Kevin. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.    
Information on Fiona O'Loughlin  Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin  O'Loughlin, Fiona. Information on Martin Kenny  Zoom on Martin Kenny  Kenny, Martin.    
Information on Frank O'Rourke  Zoom on Frank O'Rourke  O'Rourke, Frank. Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán.    
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O'Sullivan, Jan. Information on Josepha Madigan  Zoom on Josepha Madigan  Madigan, Josepha.    
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Catherine Martin  Zoom on Catherine Martin  Martin, Catherine.    
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou.    
Information on Anne Rabbitte  Zoom on Anne Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Anne. Information on Helen McEntee  Zoom on Helen McEntee  McEntee, Helen.    
Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.    
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.    
Information on Seán Sherlock  Zoom on Seán Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony.    
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.    
Information on Niamh Smyth  Zoom on Niamh Smyth  Smyth, Niamh. Information on Denise Mitchell  Zoom on Denise Mitchell  Mitchell, Denise.    
Information on Robert Troy  Zoom on Robert Troy  Troy, Robert. Information on Kevin Boxer Moran  Zoom on Kevin Boxer Moran  Moran, Kevin Boxer.    
  Information on Imelda Munster  Zoom on Imelda Munster  Munster, Imelda.    
  Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.    
  Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan.    
  Information on Paul Murphy  Zoom on Paul Murphy  Murphy, Paul.    
  Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.    
  Information on Hildegarde Naughton  Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton  Naughton, Hildegarde.    
  Information on Tom Neville  Zoom on Tom Neville  Neville, Tom.    
  Information on Carol Nolan  Zoom on Carol Nolan  Nolan, Carol.    
  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.    
  Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O'Brien, Jonathan.    
  Information on Kate O'Connell  Zoom on Kate O'Connell  O'Connell, Kate.    
  Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O'Donovan, Patrick.    
  Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O'Dowd, Fergus.    
  Information on Louise O'Reilly  Zoom on Louise O'Reilly  O'Reilly, Louise.    
  Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O'Sullivan, Maureen.    
  Information on Eoin Ó Broin  Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin  Ó Broin, Eoin.    
  Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.    
  Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire  Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire  Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.    
  Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.    
  Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul.    
  Information on Maurice Quinlivan  Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan  Quinlivan, Maurice.    
  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.    
  Information on Noel Rock  Zoom on Noel Rock  Rock, Noel.    
  Information on Shane P.N. Ross  Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross  Ross, Shane.    
  Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.    
  Information on Bríd Smith  Zoom on Bríd Smith  Smith, Bríd.    
  Information on Brian Stanley  Zoom on Brian Stanley  Stanley, Brian.    
  Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.    
  Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  Tóibín, Peadar.    
  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.    
  Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  Wallace, Mick.    
  Information on Katherine Zappone  Zoom on Katherine Zappone  Zappone, Katherine.    

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Michael Moynihan and John Lahart; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Denise Mitchell.

Amendment to amendment declared lost.


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