Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said today’s decision by retained firefighters to escalate industrial action comes as a direct result of Minister Darragh O’Brien missing in action.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The retained firefighters represented by SIPTU have announced today that they will be escalating their industrial action. They are committed to keeping our communities safe so I know that this is the last thing that they wanted and I know that they want a resolution to this dispute.
“They feel they have no option to escalate industrial action and this is a direct result of Minister Darragh O’Brien missing in action.
“He knows that our retained firefighters have been enduring impossible working conditions for far too long. It is time now for him to intervene and bring a resolution to this dispute.
“Retained firefighters 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 for cover.
“Darragh O’Brien also knows that these conditions have led to a wholly unsustainable recruitment crisis in the service. Yet he has repeatedly walked away from his responsibilities and has displayed staggering arrogance in his failure to engage on this issue.
“This recruitment and retention crisis is putting them and our communities in danger. That has to be addressed.
“Our firefighters should not be forced out onto a picket line. They deserve decent terms and conditions and they, and our communities, deserve to be safe.
“What the retained firefighters are looking for, and what we in Sinn Féin called for in a motion put forward by John Brady and Eoin Ó Broin earlier this year, is 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.
“Darragh O’Brien cannot keep running away from his responsibilities. He must work with the retained firefighters and with their representatives in SIPTU to bring about a just and fair resolution to this industrial dispute.”