PDFORRA SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT IMPLICATIONS OF RECENT DOWNSIZING ON ITS MEMBERS

By Industrial Relations Officer

PDFORRA the organisation representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew of Defence Forces can confirm that the organisation is inundated with calls from members regarding the recent downsizing of the force from three to two brigades – and the related relocation of its members.

There appears be confusion on whether or not the servicemen and women will have an option of voluntary relocation; and this is a critical issue, as some of the related movement of personnel will involve members from Dublin relocating in Athlone and vice versa. Several hundred personnel based in Cork may also have to move to Limerick– and all of this will have significant implications for defence force families.

Gerry Rooney, General Secretary of PDFORRA said today, “We have been visiting various barracks recently to establish the full extent of the impact of this recent downsizing on our members.  There is immense concern in several key locations about the criteria for relocating personnel – and it is now emerging that the actual extent of the movement of personnel is much greater than expected.  It is important for all involved in this downsizing of the Defence Forces, including the Minister, that the Croke Park Agreement deals with the important matters of ‘reskilling’ and ‘voluntary relocation’, in such circumstances.

The Defence Forces have been confronted with and have responded positively to restructuring and downsizing since the late 1990’s – and is unique within the public service in this respect.  This positive and cooperative approach has not reaped a dividend and many of our members now believe that it merely served as an invitation to further cuts.

Gerry Rooney went on to say, “we are now actively seeking clarification from management on the criteria being used for moving personnel from one post to another.  The Croke Park agreement deals with re-skilling in situ, so that relocation can be minimised and we certainly would expect that none of our members will have to experience involuntary relocation in the current situation.

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