Pay decision due for naval crews who risk lives on high seas
Irish naval officers who risk their lives to pull desperate migrants from the sea earn €22 a day less than their counterparts on peace-keeping missions.
Troops are paid a daily armed allowance of €77 a day for a private, €79 for a corporal and €81 for sergeants and upwards while on peacekeeping missions around the globe.
But the Naval Service crews are paid an unarmed allowance, which is €22 a day less in each case.
The claim, which has been taken to arbitration by Pdforra, the association representing soldiers, sailors and air crew, is based on the argument that their ships are armed and they crew carry Steyr rifles at all times. The issue was raised at the association's annual conference, where Defence Minister defence Paul Kehoe said adjudication on the claim would begin towards the end of the month and he would then consider the findings.
The sixth Irish naval vessel to be deployed to the Mediterranean, LÉ Samuel Beckett, was deployed yesterday to rescue 652 migrants after coming to the aid of another 128 on Monday.
This brings the total number of migrants rescued by Irish naval vessels to more than 13,280 since the deployment began last year.
At last year's conference, then defence minister Simon Coveney said if the claim was successful, the money would be back-dated to the initial deployment of the Naval Service.