The organisation representing Defence Forces officer grades has claimed it was "ostracised" from the talks on a new public service pay deal, which concluded on Friday.

Following a meeting this evening, the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (RACO) said its National Executive had expressed "...considerable disappointment at the way our members were effectively misled as to their ability to engage in pay talks as equal partners".

Because representative bodies for members of the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána are not permitted to affiliate to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, they must conduct pay negotiations with the Government through a separate strand, while in the main talks, the ICTU-affiliated unions are represented by four key negotiators from Forsa, SIPTU, the INMO and the INTO.

The Defence Forces and Garda bodies have always objected to this structure, and have demanded "parity of esteem".

However, there was fury last Friday when the final "Building Momentum" document was unveiled to the media before the non-ICTU bodies had seen it. 

Speaking after this evening's meeting, RACO General Secretary Conor King said the Executive had instructed the association to seek an urgent meeting with Defence and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney to discuss the conduct of the pay talks, "...and the fact that Defence Forces representative associations were effectively ostracised from the process, despite assurances to the contrary".

RACO said there had been no recognition of their "restricted" industrial relations status, and no premium placed on the prohibition on industrial action which applies to them.

The association said that members noted the ability of those who were willing to take industrial action to achieve positive outcomes from talks.

"The National Executive feels that it will have little choice but to recommend a sectoral pay round for all members, and hopes that the well-documented organisational retention issues can be solved by the Commission on Defence," it concluded.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed that there had been side deals agreed during the course of negotiating "Building Momentum", which are not included in the main body of the deal.

"Some clarifications will have to issue after a negotiation of this scale and complexity but nothing that will add to the pay cost of €906m," a spokesperson said.