A survey by the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (Raco) found more “push factors than pull factors” for officers in the defense forces.

The survey is an attempt to identify the problems leading to early retirement and to make recommendations to ensure a better life for the Irish military.

The association provided these suggestions to the Defense Commission in the hope that they will be included in its recommendations to the government.

Raco’s secretary-general, Commander Conor King, said their analysis of the investigation indicated “more push factors than pull factors” leading officers to retire early.

Pay and terms are generally described as more favorable in respondents’ new jobs, while work-life balance and personal worth in the Defense Forces are not viewed positively.

Comd King said Raco had chosen four main themes that his association believed needed action on, including pay and terms.

Good will and dedication

He said Raco believes too many of the daily demands of the defense forces “are being met solely through the goodwill and dedication of the soldiers, sailors and aircrew” and that at some point, “goodwill will be exhausted and staff will feel the need to move into areas where effort is rewarded rather than applauded “.

The survey showed that 40% of those surveyed left due to inadequate salary and / or benefits, while 60% cited working conditions and work-life balance as the reason for leaving. .

“What is clear from the qualitative data, however, is that better wages and benefits would go a long way to compensate for these difficult conditions,” said Comd King. “The DF [Defence Forces] and DoD [Department of Defence] must advocate in the strongest terms for improved salaries and conditions for all ranks and to improve the “supply” of a career in the defense forces. “

Another issue highlighted was the less favorable retirement conditions for those who joined the Defense Forces after 2013, which Raco also wishes to address.

Another recommendation from Raco focuses on “geography and HR planning”. Raco says too much emphasis is placed on moving people, often to fill in the gaps, “which hurts the officers and the units they serve.” -Long-term planning for officers, with greater value placed on appointments in units and sub-units.

He said an additional solution would be the decentralization of a number of Defense Force Headquarters and Corps Directorates to locations other than Dublin or Cork, or the Defense Force Training Center.

This would allow Defense Force officers in these locations to gain headquarters experience without significantly disrupting the current work-life balance.

“Full implementation of the working time directive [WTD] in accordance with national and European legislation is an obligation that must be fulfilled in this regard as well. Constructive engagement with the health and safety provisions of DMT will improve HR planning, reduce stress and have a positive impact on all members of the DF, ”said Comd King.

Another recommendation was made under the title “organization and leadership”, which maintained that the General Staff should be seen as “more vigorous and open defenders” of their uniformed personnel.

“It is not always easy for subordinates to see the efforts of superiors, and top management should be doing more to have a positive local impact for serving staff. Leaders should continue to project a positive outlook for the organization, but one that reflects the reality of serving personnel, ”said Comd King.

World leader

While the Defense Forces are recognized as a world leader in overseas peace support operations, the military’s national role has been “ill-defined in recent years,” he said. In Raco’s “roles and impact” recommendation to the commission, he suggested that a more defined role on the island should be identified.

“The constant turnover of officers and a similar trend emerging for non-commissioned officers is eroding the identity of the unit that is at the heart of the esprit de corps,” said Comd King.

“The time and space, outside of the pre-deployment phases, for units to train and practice in their conventional roles, and to regain a sense of military cohesion and pride, must be made available.” , he added.

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