16. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to provide overtime payments to members of the Defence Forces that recently worked in excess of their contracted hours during Storm Emma; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12714/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): All the available resources and capabilities of the Defence Forces were at the disposal of the principal response agencies in reaction to the recent extreme weather event.  In this regard, the Defence Forces and Civil Defence made a substantial and coordinated contribution to local efforts on a national basis.

Unlike other areas of the Public Service and due to the nature of the duties performed, overtime payments are not available to members of the Defence Forces. However a Military Service Allowance, which is designed to compensate for the special disadvantages associated with military life including long and unsocial hours, is paid to all ranks up to the level of Colonel.

In addition to basic pay and military service allowance, certain positions in the Defence Forces also attract specialist and technical pay.  A range of duties attract further allowances.  One of these is an Aid to the Civil Authorities Allowance which is paid to members of the Permanent Defence Force called out to assist local authorities in extreme weather events, outside of their normal military routine.

I was very impressed by the work carried out by the Defence Forces and Civil Defence arising from Storm Emma.  The supports they provided assisted the Principal Response Agencies and communities in meeting the challenges that arose.