Sinn Féin TDs Eoin Ó Broin and John Brady have called on the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to take urgent action on the incomes and conditions of retained firefighters, and to protect the crucial services they provide.
With retained firefighters scheduled to escalate industrial action this week, Sinn Féin is calling on Minister O’Brien to stop paying lip service to the service’s recruitment and retention crisis, to increase the fixed incomes of firefighters, and to increase staffing levels in order to build and maintain a fit-for-purpose service.
Speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin motion on the issue, to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday, party spokesperson on Housing, Teachta Ó Broin, said:
“Urgent government action is needed to save the crucial services provided by retained firefighters. Without action on incomes and conditions, the future of these services are in doubt, putting lives at risk.
“There has been a shocking lack of action and political leadership from Minister Darragh O’Brien and government to resolve these issues, which have led to the retention and recruitment crisis.
“We need these services to keep our communities safe, and retained firefighters deserve better pay and a better work-life balance.
“It is time for the government and Minister Darragh O’Brien to stop paying lip service to retained firefighters, and to sort this issue now to ensure communities continue to have crucial fire services.”
Teachta Brady said:
“Recruitment and retention levels are beyond crisis point as confirmed in the government’s most recent review, which found that 58 percent of retained firefighters said they were likely to leave the service within the next three years.
“The demands being placed upon retained firefighters and their families are unsustainable.
“The government must urgently engage with representative bodies acting on behalf of the retained firefighters to avert an escalation of industrial action.
“They must bring forward a financial investment package which allows for the creation of a new framework for service delivery for retained fire services, and provides for increased remuneration and better conditions for current and future members.
“Sinn Féin in government would urgently intervene to increase the fixed incomes of firefighters and increase staffing levels in order to build a fit-for-purpose service.”