Low-paid soldiers 'turning to money lenders'
Soldiers are being forced to turn to moneylenders to pay their weekly bills because of extreme financial hardship.
The economic plight of the hard-pressed lower ranks of the Defence Forces was spelled out yesterday as their representative leaders called for action from the Government.
The annual conference of Pdforra, the representative association for soldiers, sailors and aircrew, heard in Trim, Co Meath yesterday that some members had lost their homes because they were not able to keep up payments.
Association president Willie Webb claimed that large numbers found themselves reduced to hardship.
The conference had earlier heard that many soldiers were now seeking family income support from the Department of Social Welfare as a result of the loss of up to €5,000 in wages over the past two years.
Troops with less than three years' service are paid €516.43 gross a week while serving privates with over six years' service receive €669.23 weekly.
Mr Webb warned yesterday that the pay cuts would lead "inevitably and inextricably" to some soldiers becoming vulnerable to moneylenders.