Dáil Éireann - Volume 503 - 01 April, 1999

Written Answers. - Meetings with Representative Bodies.

[362] 77. Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Defence the number of meetings he has had in 1998 and to date in 1999 with RACO and PDFORRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9272/99]

97. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the number of meetings he has had with the Defence Forces representative bodies since the 1 January 1999. [9421/99]

140. Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Defence the number of meetings he has had in 1998 and to date with RACO and PDFORRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9332/99]

Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): I propose to take Questions Nos. 77, 97 and 140 together.

I met with PDFORRA and RACO on two occasions each last year, once to discuss general issues and once to advise them of the Government's decision in relation to the closure of barracks and I also attended the annual delegate conferences of both associations. I have had a number of less formal contacts with them from time to time. I have not had any formal meetings with the Defence Forces representative associations this year.

In this regard the conciliation and arbitration scheme is the mechanism within which issues of concern to both the associations and the departmental side can and should be addressed. A number of meetings with the associations have been held under the C & A mechanism this year and there are regular informal contacts between the official and staff sides.

In any situation where the representative associations are involved I am anxious to encourage the use of the normal C & A machinery to process routine business. The fact that my intervention has not been requested underlines the fact that they are using the representative system in an appropriate manner and that the process is working.