Defence Forces crews given €15 'danger pay' for rescuing migrants
Members of the Irish Defence Forces who risked their lives to save more than 15,000 migrants from the Mediterranean are to get an additional €15 a day in 'danger' pay.
Approximately 385 soldiers, sailors and air crew will now get a total of €70 tax-free a day in additional payments when the new payment is factored in, PDForra, the association representing Defence Forces members, has confirmed.
They were deployed to the humanitarian and rescue mission 'Operation Pontus' in six 90-day tours of duty since 2015.
The long-awaited payment recognises the danger faced by crews aboard LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh, LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ Rósín and the LÉ James Joyce, who worked with the Italian Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre to rescue migrants fleeing North Africa.
The payment takes into account the constant threat of bombardment as naval ships neared the hostile Libyan coast.
It also acknowledged the trauma suffered by crews dealing with the harrowing rescue of desperate and dying men, women and children, PDForra general secretary Gerry Rooney said.
"Even though it was an humanitarian mission, there was a constant threat," he said. Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe said it was a welcome resolution.
He added: "I have been eager for a conclusion to this matter for some time. I am pleased that following the request of the arbitrator, that PDForra and my department have worked together to successfully resolve this matter."