Offaly politician calls on government to 'respect' soldiers

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly politician calls on government to 'respect' soldiers

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The government must "move swiftly to tackle the growing collapse of confidence of the armed forces in the leadership of the force," RENUA Ireland leader and Offaly councillor John Leahy has warned.

The Party Leader Cllr. John Leahy said, "we ask a great deal from our armed forces, not least that they must be prepared to put their lives at risk in the service of the state."

"By contrast, our respect for our soldiers is so low many need Family Income Supplement and food hampers to feed their families."

"Nothing epitomises the amicable contempt our soldiers are held in than the Taoiseach’s claim that no-one enters the army for the money."

"That is for sure, but they do not enter it to see their families starve either," Leahy said.

"The current scenario where on Christmas Day 2018, members of the Defence Forces received just €20 for working 24 hours on duty is all too typical of the penny-wise pound-foolish approach to our armed forces."

"Since 1922 our Army, Air Corps, Naval Service and the Reserve, have never flinched in their unquestioning loyalty to our State. The State, however, has never reciprocated that loyalty."

"This failure to develop a state culture of justice and respect has created the dangerous scenario where the border cannot be policed in the event of an unruly Brexit."

"This will create a gap that will do serious systemic damage to Ireland's agriculture and agri-business model. Such has been the decline in the capacity of the Army were a recurrence of the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK and Northern Ireland to happen it could not now be prevented from spreading to the Republic."

"It is time the government restored the Army to the control of the Army and reversed the current scenario where non-professionals in the public service have been allowed to dominate critical strategic security decision making."

"If they don’t, we will reap a bitter price in areas as diverse as Brexit, cyber security, fisheries protection and Ireland’s international reputation," Leahy concluded.