SOLDIERS are up in arms over a decision by Defence Minister Alan Shatter to end low-cost medical services for their comrades based at the Curragh.
The troops say the service has been in place for more than a century and accuse the minister of breaching the Haddington Road deal with the public sector.
The issue was raised last night at the opening of the annual conference of Pdforra, the association representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew in the Defence Forces, in Wexford town.
An angry Simon Devereux, who is association deputy general secretary, said: "It beggars belief that the Department of Defence has unilaterally discontinued this service to families in the Curragh at a time when they are finding it so difficult to make ends meet and in a manner contrary to the agreement".
Mr Devereux said this decision had been taken without negotiation and directly breached the Haddington Road deal.
"We are surprised and deeply concerned that this insensitive and unacceptable move has the support of Mr Shatter".
He called on the minister to review and reverse the decision as a matter of urgency.
Mr Devereux said the low-cost service had been available to soldiers' families for well over a century and abolishing it at a time of immense hardship was not only unacceptable but unnecessary.
He pointed out that his members had accepted the Haddington Road agreement by a vote of three to one following a national ballot and would continue to abide by its side of the deal.
Mr Shatter is due to address the conference this afternoon on a range of issues being raised by delegates.