‘Viability of Defence Forces is in danger’ says Kilkenny TD

'I have raised this issue with the Minister for Defence time and time again as have many others' - Bobby Aylward

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Defence Forces

File photo of members of Defence Forces

Local TD Bobby Aylward has said it is a sad indictment on the Government that almost 80% of recently inducted Defence Forces Officers plan to leave early due to the lack of a viable career path.

Deputy Aylward was commenting following a report which was published by the Representation Association of Commissioned Officers, and said it was a consequence of bad Government policy and inaction that officers find themselves in this situation.

“The RACO report further hits home the despair clearly felt by some officers,” he said.

“They have pursued a vocation, spent years in training and education, made substantial personal and professional sacrifices to honourably serve our State, and are desperate to get out.

“It’s not news that there is a recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces. I have raised this issue with the Minister for Defence time and time again as have many others. There is a long record of inaction on Fine Gael’s part when it comes to the appalling treatment of Defence Forces personnel.

"The Minister should pause to consider how difficult it must be internally that 80% of new officers can no longer face the prospect of fulfilling their position. He needs to initiate a comprehensive root and branch review and he must do so immediately before further damage is done."