Furious Fearghal MacLochlainn contacted Donegaldaily.com to highlight his plight.
Lifford man Fearghal, 40, has just retired after 22 years service in the army during which he did four tours of duty in Kosovo and Lebanon.
He was due to receive a retirement presentation of some crystal in the coming weeks.
But Fearghal has now received a letter from Finner Camp saying because he owes €28 in Mess subs, most for tea and coffee, he will not receive his presentation unless he coughs up the cash.
Last night an army spokesman said the presentation did not come from public funds but was from the soldier’s peer group in their mess.
It also stressed that the decision was not made by the Defence Forces per se but by members of what it described as “a social club.”
“Presentations are organised locally from amongst the retirees peers, in this case the NCO Mess, who at this time are not in a position to bring a motion to their members regarding a presentation, as the requirements regarding the appropriateness of a presentation to the individual involved have not been met,” said an army spokesman.
However Mr MacLochlainn has stressed that the letter sent to him warning him he would not receive a presentation was sent to him on official headed notepaper.
The father-of-two, whose five brothers and father also served in the Irish army, said he is standing over his decision not to accept any retirement presentation after what he described as a “threatening letter.”
“I cannot accept this presentation now. It has just sickened me. How could I pretend everything was okay when I have gone through all this.
“I will always feels let down by this now and I cannot turn back,” he said.
FULL ARMY STATEMENT
Members of the Defence Forces do not receive any presentation paid for by public funds, all ranks usually receive a presentation from their peer group in their respective mess ( ie in essence a social club). Most of these presentations are voluntary subscription based or follow clear and approved mess rules. Some important points with reference to such presentations.
Firstly they are not an automatic entitlement, regardless of Rank, Service or Station.
Secondly, the matter of the appropriateness or not of presentations for retired personnel is within the remit of , in this case, Non Commissioned Officers Mess members. The protocols regarding presentations is a matter for the Mess Members, effectively drawn from this individuals peers. In this case the mess members are adhering to the protocols that are in place.
Finally, the issue of a presentations from the Defence Forces is not in question as it is not the custom to give presentations from the organisation per se. Presentations are organised locally from amongst the retirees peers, in this case the NCO Mess, who at this time are not in a position to bring a motion to their members regarding a presentation, as the requirements regarding the appropriateness of a presentation to the individual involved have not been met.