Chefs in the Irish Defence Forces are being given just €4.20 to provide three meals a day for hundreds of soldiers and sailers.
The issue was raised by members of PDFORRA (Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association) at its annual conference held in Jackson's Hotel in Ballybofey, Co Donegal today.
The conference was dominated by the financial constraints in which the defence forces continue to operate.
The conference heard how military chefs must provide meals on a daily allowance three times less than the prison service where chefs have an average allowance of €15 per prisoner.
The allowance did rise to an average of €5.20 in 2005 but has diminished again to approximately €4.20 since the recession.
Speaking about the issue, President of PDFORRA Mark Keane said the issue could not be allowed to go on any longer.
Mr Keane himself is a chef within the naval service.
"We have seen the increase in foodstuffs in recent years be that in the military or in civilian life.
"I have spoken with a lot of people in catering, I am a chef in the naval service and I know first hand what it is like, it is proving very difficult.
"We have people on shifts and they are away on service and that is all they have to look forward to for long periods of time on operation duties. That's what they look forward to because morale is based around the food.
"People with us have to have a well-balanced and nutritional diet and how are our chefs supposed to be able to provide that on an allowance of just €4,20 a day?
"We can't compete on an allowance of €4.20 a day and we need it addressed as a matter of urgency."
And he admitted that the quality of food being served to personnel is suffering as a result of rising costs which he said was gone up by between 70pc and 80pc.
He added "We cannot provide three meals a day on this allowance, and we are sacrificing the standards. We are losing the variety of what we are being able to offer.
"Chefs are being stifled in what they are trying to offer and what they provide to people, and I know people who will tell you that they are genuinely embarrassed and have to tell people "this is all we have or this is all we can provide'.
"We are hoping to engage with the Minister and we are hopeful that he will move on the rate," he said.