Growing up my father was a member of the Irish Defence Forces, he was in the Army. So therefore I had good knowledge of what it entailed to be a member of a military family. My partner joined the Irish Naval Service recently, a decision of which I was 100% supportive of.
As we have a son, it came as quite a shock to discover that €240 was his wage for being a recruit.
Having to pay for his rations as well as all the costs involved in running a car which is a necessity because we live outside the city and my partner works in Haulbowline which is over 40km away.
I think it is an absolute disgrace that the Irish Government thinks this is acceptable.
The first 8 months of this journey were tough but since then our life has gotten harder because my partner passed out of his recruitment class and was allocated a ship for the next 2 years of his career.
Granted his wage increased by €100 so he went from earning €240 to €340 after tax. Now , this wage would be acceptable if he wasn’t away for weeks at a time serving his country by patrolling the Irish Sea to protect the fisheries. My partner is at sea for 4 weeks and only home for 2 weeks before he has to go back and do another 4 week rotation and while he’s home for 2 weeks he still has to do 24 hour duties for €20. Before the cuts were introduced, 24 hour duties on a Monday -Friday were worth €42.83 and weekend/bank holidays were worth €70 after tax.
My partner and many other military personnel are actually working for far less than what is the legal minimum wage . Do you think this is acceptable?
In my opinion expecting military personnel to live on such a low wage is a disgrace. How can these service men and women support their partners, educate, cloth and feed their children on this ridiculous income?
All this does is reduce the morale and self-esteem of our service men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line in service of their country. Our dedicated service men and women deserve better pay and conditions and without doubt they deserve the respect of our Government and our Nation.
Finally I would like to challenge any member of our government to live on this wage for a week to see the reality of our lives.