July 31, 2023
Darragh O’Brien cannot keep walking away from his responsibilities to retained firefighters – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing and Local Government, Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister Darragh O’Brien to finally step up and meet his responsibilities for retained firefighters.

Last Wednesday, retained firefighters resumed their strike action across the state after over 80% of them rejected as inadequate Labour Court recommendations to address the pay and recruitment crisis in the service.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Minister Darragh O’Brien knows that our retained firefighters have been enduring impossible working conditions for far too long.

“They are expected to be on call 24/7, 351 days of the year and to remain within a few kilometres of their local fire station. All for a salary of 99 cent an hour of cover.

“He also knows that these conditions have led to a profound recruitment crisis in the service. Yet he has repeatedly walked away from his responsibilities to our retained firefighters and displayed staggering arrogance in his failure to engage on this issue.

“The anger that he has provoked was there for all to see when dozens of retained firefighters stood up and walked out of the Dáil public gallery last month in disgust, during the debate on Sinn Féin’s motion aimed at resolving this crisis.

“I am calling on Minister Darragh O’Brien to finally step up and meet his responsibilities to firefighters.

“What the retained firefighters are looking for, and what we in Sinn Féin called for, was for the government to act on the 13 recommendations arising out of its own report calling for reform of the fire service, which Minister O’Brien informed the Dáil he supported last November.

“Retained firefighters undertake a dangerous and demanding role on behalf of our communities across the state. Their decency and civic commitment to their local communities has been taken for granted for too long.

“If the serious issues at the heart of the crisis in the retained fire service are not addressed immediately, it will lead to increasing danger for both firefighters and members of the public.”

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