Fianna Fáil has accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of using the Defence Forces for photo-ops while allowing the Army to be destroyed.
The party wants the Government to restore defence allowances and to establish a permanent pay commission.
Spokesman Jack Chambers claimed there is a “mass exodus monthly” from the Army, that the Air Corps is struggling and last year the Navy was unable to put ships out to sea.
“We need to bring the Defence Forces back from the cliff-edge,” he said, adding that they are “on the path to total destruction”.
“Fine Gael’s approach to the Defence Forces has all the hallmarks of a covert attempt to wind down and emasculate the service to a point where it is no longer viable,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said Fianna Fáil had no “particular interest in or regard for the Defence Forces”. He told the Dáil the party brings different interest groups into Leinster House every week looking for money.
The Taoiseach insisted a special deal outside of the Public Sector Pay Commission cannot be done as it would have a “knock-on effect across the board”.
“An increase of 2pc across the board would amount to €360m,” he said.
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