Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has added his support to SIPTU calls for Minister Darragh O’Brien to meet with Union representatives to address the ongoing difficulties surrounding the recruitment and retention of retained Fire Service members across the country.
Teachta Brady said
“Minister Darragh O’Brien, who has responsibility for the Fire Service, must meet with SIPTU on the issue of the retained Fire Service at the earliest opportunity in order to address the urgent issue of recruitment and retention in the service.
“There have been instances where Fire Services were unable to respond to emergencies due to a shortage of Fire Fighters, and in other instances, some Fire Stations have been forced to close.
“Fire Service management figures have recognised the challenges that the retained fire service face and have admitted that the fire service is not ‘fit for purpose’, during a recent conference of Chief Fire Officers.
“Unions representing the Retained Fire Service Personnel have been frustrated at every turn in their efforts to have the issue of recruitment and retention addressed.
“I urgently call upon Minister O’Brien to meet with the Union and begin the process of addressing this critical issue.
“I am aware that the Minister believes that responsibility lies with the various local authorities around the country, who are ostensibly responsible for the roll out of policy developed by his department.
“But the reality is, failure to address the issue of recruitment and retention, is literally a matter of life and death.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line every time they answer a call. In 2007 Firefighters Brian Murray, and Mark O’Shaughnessy gave their lives in the line of duty.
“We do not want to see the death or injury of another Firefighter in Wicklow, or anywhere else in the country due to the failure to put in place preventable measures.
“But if the issue of staffing levels is not addressed, the government and local authorities are endangering the welfare of Firefighters everywhere.”