Statement from Dr Cathal Berry TD on the Commission on the Defence Forces Report

I very much welcome the publication of the report of the Commission on the Defence Forces. It is a
grim and accurate assessment of the situation in our armed forces because of decades of
underinvestment by successive governments.
I am very concerned that the Minister intends to wait “four or five months” to produce a government
action plan however. The report needs a few quick wins as an indicator of good faith on behalf of the
Government. Three measures should be agreed at cabinet next week:
1. Removal of the ban on ICTU affiliation for military representative associations.
2. Immediate delivery of the outstanding projects in the High-Level Implementation Plan. (These
measures have already been agreed at cabinet and have been officially announced twice).
3. Agreement to the introduction of the recommended Lance Corporal rank.
ICTU affiliation incurs no additional cost. The price of implementing the High-Level Implementation
Plan and introducing the Lance Corporal rank is minimal and can be met from existing resources.
Momentum is now crucial to demonstrate Government intent and get buy in from the Defence
community. We will therefore learn next week if the Government is serious about tackling this