The organization representing members of the Moral Defense Forces has called on the government to provide citizenship free of charge to non-Irish citizens who join the military.
Mark Keane, President of PDFORRA, said in a speech that the expenses involved in acquiring citizenship in Ireland prevent a number of soldiers, aircrews and sailors from serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
Geir Jennan, Secretary General of PDFORRA, said people who are not Irish citizens and who serve in the Permanent Defense Forces must obtain citizenship after five years of service.
Keane made his remarks during a speech at the group’s annual conference in Killarney and called on Defense Secretary Simon Coveney to act.
“Today we see a new generation, willing to put themselves at the same peril in the service of peace and liberty – which is very commendable as you think – and yet our government is denying them the opportunity to serve abroad, why? Because they were not born on this island.
Minister, they need two passports to perform this duty. How hard it would be to achieve this without making them pay the price for their willingness to sacrifice and serve.
“By failing to remedy this situation, you are jeopardizing their future prospects in the Defense Forces,” he claimed. It’s a matter of red tape, he said, and Coveney has “the authority as both foreign minister and defense minister to get through it.”
It will be good for the UN, it will be good for the defense forces, it will be good for the personnel involved. But most of all, Honorable Minister, this is the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, Guinan said PDFORRA has sought to have the service of resident aliens in the Defense Forces appropriately recognized by the state by granting free citizenship upon expiry of the appropriate time frame, provided that such individuals hold citizenship. Classification of “good” behavior.
Guinan added that the soldiers “risk their lives and limbs with their comrades” but then are “a lair”.[ied]… through economic means the ability to become citizens of our state.”
PDFORRA has been highlighting this issue since 2018, but it doesn’t seem to be gaining any traction. There seems to be a situation: let them do the same as everyone else.
“In thinking that the government would allow citizens of other countries to hold Irish passports if they paid a certain amount of money, we must ask – are we willing to make soldiers risk their lives with tridents on their arms and then reject them nonetheless the power of economic necessity to be able to become citizens?” .
Guinan said obtaining citizenship could cost “thousands” of euros and that members of the Defense Forces could not afford it because they were “paid relatively low”.
“Based on this, Badfora believes that it is not yet time to put in place a protocol allowing enlisted personnel to obtain citizenship upon completion of five years of honorable service to the state.
He said this should be agreed upon between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice within a six-month timeframe.
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Meanwhile, PDFORRA has called for a reversal of the cuts made to Defense Force members through the Haddington Road Agreement.
“Similar restoration measures should be applied to members of the defense forces as those applied in the rest of the public sector,” said Gerard Guinan.
“Any failure to provide some similar recovery measure will only lead to more difficulties in recruiting and retaining personnel within our defense forces.
“If we are going to treat defense force personnel as lesser employees, the government cannot be surprised when there is no one there to fulfill the roles assigned to them,” he said.
PDFORRA also called for recognition of the work done by Defense Force personnel during the pandemic.
“Most, if not all, citizens recognize the significant contribution that public servants and others have made during the Covid crisis, and it would be a welcome offer of recognition if some judgment is made in recognition of the contribution made,” Keane said.
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