Military personnel set for 'substantial' increase in allowances
The military is expected to be given a "substantial" increase in allowances by a commission set up to review its rates.
The recommendations may prove crucial in averting a manpower crisis in the Defence Forces.
The commission's long-overdue report has now been completed. It is likely to be presented to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe today.
The commission is expected to recommend increases in areas such as military service allowances, which would not spark a domino series of claims by other public workers.
But increases in pay have not featured in the discussions.
Military management and the Department of Defence are pinning their hopes on the commission's proposals to help stem the flow of personnel from the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.
Despite successful recruitment campaigns, the strength of the Defence Forces continues to fall because poor pay has created a major retention problem.
The military representative associations have been pressing hard for a large increase in allowances and say their members should be treated as a special case.
This is because they do not have the right to strike and have no seat at the negotiating table alongside workers represented by unions.
The RACO, which represents military officers, is also pushing for increases in areas such as allowances for bomb disposal officers and naval patrol duties, as well as a restoration of additional money for working weekends.
Speculation has been increasing in the past week that at least an interim report would be published before the local elections.
The report is expected to be considered by the Cabinet next week.