Fianna Fáil has tabled a motion in the Dáil this evening calling for military allowances to be returned to pre-recession levels.

Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers, who moved the motion, said the Government had failed to acknowledge the recruitment and retention crisis within the Defence Forces and he said morale within the forces was on the floor.

He said he was receiving messages from families of the Defence Force members who were struggling on a daily basis and he said members were at "breaking point".

Deputy Chambers said members were worried about the bills they cannot pay and threatened evictions and he said this has a "devastating" impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

He said defence force members should be able to enjoy the same living standards as many members of the public service do.

"We need to move the Defence Forces back from the cliff edge, we can't have continuous crisis management and a dysfunctional cycle of turnover and that's why you should support this motion in the House and you should show your voice at the Cabinet table."

He said the future of the Defence Forces was at stake and he appealed to the Government to restore military allowances to pre-Financial Emergency Measures (FEMPI) levels.

In response, the Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe, said there were ongoing efforts to address the current challenges in relation to recruitment and retention.
 

He told the Dáil that he acknowledged they were facing some "HR challenges" within the Defence Forces.

He said the Government's White Paper emphasises the commitment to necessary resourcing of Defence in the future.

In the White Paper on Defence published in 2015 the Government set out its plans for the sector for the following decade.

Minister Kehoe said he acknowledged that the pay of the Defence Forces had been reduced during the financial crisis and he said he recognised the personal impact this had on all public servants.

He said that the pay reductions were being "unwound" in a fair and sustainable manner.

He said Public Service Pay Commission had examined recruitment and retention issues within the defence sector and he said the Government would decide its approach. 

The Minister said there was no quick fix to the issues and he said that his priority was to maintain focus on the Government's White Paper.