We must also look at the consequences of a no-deal Brexit on our position on the edge of Europe, and the important role our Defence Forces, particularly the Naval Service, will have to play in protecting that. I also read the article in the Irish Examiner to which another Senator referred and which indicated that because of the continuing manpower crisis in the Naval Service, a number of ships were delayed in putting to sea because of a shortage of specialist crew members. The most recent episode in this regard involved the LÉ Niamh and occurred two weeks ago. As an island nation, we cannot have a situation whereby our Naval Service is not able to put its vessels to sea and continue the great work it does in protecting our coastlines and our State.
The Minister must address the continued exit of personnel from the Naval Service. Reports in the same newspaper indicated that more crew members are considering their futures. The importance of the job that our Naval Service means that there must be urgent intervention on the part of the Government. The important and additional work that the Naval Service, and our Defence Forces in general, will be expected to do in the case of a no-deal Brexit or one that involves a limited trade deal must be urgently considered by the Government. It is simply beyond time that the pay and conditions of the members of our Defence Forces are addressed.