Minister for Defence must take action to stop exodus from Defence Forces – Smith

39th Infantry Group Medal Parade

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan/Monaghan and Chairman of the All Party Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence, Brendan Smith, says the Minister for Defence should urgently address the mass exodus of personnel in the Defence Forces.

Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil reveal thousands of Defence Force members are opting to discharge by purchase.

Deputy Smith commented, “The figures speak for themselves, we need real action from Minister Kehoe to stop this retention crisis, not more empty rhetoric. The figures offer further evidence of the crippling morale crisis in the Defence Forces which is causing the mass, unsustainable exodus that Minister Kehoe is presiding over. 

“It is essential that the number of personnel in our Defence Forces increases to ensure that they can carry out all their duties in a proper manner.  Additional security requirements will arise from Brexit and over the years our Army carried out important and much needed security operations in our border areas.  As a TD for a border constituency I am particularly conscious of that good work that was carried out over the years by our Permanent Defence Forces.

“We need real action from the Minister to stop this retention crisis, not more empty rhetoric. He needs to address the actual problems across the army, navy and air corps with serious measures that will restore pride in the uniform and make a career in the Defence Forces a realistic, credible and attractive option. These numbers don’t lie.

“It is also particularly concerning that almost half of those who sought to buy their way out over the last three years are recruits who had just recently joined up,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Pay and Conditions PQ Smith 

Purchased discharge figures