Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has said that it is time for actions not words to solve the ongoing crisis in the Retained Fire Service.
The Wicklow TD was commenting following a vote on Sinn Féin proposals to address the issue was watered down by a government amendment.
Teachta Brady said:
“The strain that firefighters in the Retained Fire Service across this state are under has brought them to the brink of industrial action, and has brought them onto the streets of Dublin to demonstrate their frustration in front of the Dáil this week.
“The service is not fit for purpose, and the welfare and well-being of firefighters and members of the public have been endangered by successive governments failing to engage in a meaningful way to address these long-standing issues.
“Sinn Féin brought forward proposals this week to address the recruitment and retention crisis in the service, and the knock-on problems arising from that crisis.
“We called for the establishment of a Joint Oireachtas Cross-Party Committee to sit for four months to conduct a full and independent review, and to bring forward a report containing key recommendations for government to implement.
“A government amendment has watered down our proposals, but the Minister responsible, Darragh O’Brien, has committed to implement the recommendations of a review undertaken of all fire services, which he says is currently ‘in the final stages of preparation’.
“I acknowledge that commitment. However, it is an extremely vague one with no timeline forthcoming on when those recommendations will be made public, let alone when they will be implemented.
“The Retained Fire Service has been in the grip of a crisis which has been allowed to continue unabated for decades due to government action, and they are long past the stage where they need action not words.
“The minister can rest assured that Sinn Féin will be monitoring this situation closely and anything less than the absolute delivery of his commitments will be unacceptable.”