What will it take for Minister and DCC to act on Dublin Fire Brigade Concerns?

Senator Marie Sherlock
15 October 2021

Labour Senator Marie Sherlock has called on the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Dublin City Council to make an immediate start on resolving the very serious issues for Dublin Fire Brigade at the moment.

Senator Sherlock was responding to the news that trade union representatives of Dublin Fire Brigade fire fighters have served notice of their intention to ballot for industrial action. A meeting took place last night between a number of Dublin Fire Brigade fire fighters, their trade union and Labour councillors, Senators and TDs to discuss the very serious situation.

Senator Sherlock said:

“It is a reflection of the depth of frustration among fire fighters that they are being left with no option but to serve notice of intention to ballot for industrial action. The persistent staffing shortages and failure to deliver promised equipment across the Dublin region means that there is now an unacceptable level of risk in this city and county.

“Throughout this summer and autumn there have near daily occurrences of where the full fleet could not have been deployed, if required, due to staffing shortages. At one stage in September, one fifth of the fleet could not have been deployed if required, and there has been frequent occurrences of when up to 5 fire engines could not have been deployed, if required.

“What makes this truly frightening is that these shortages have been entirely predictable. There has been a failure to adequately recruit. Dublin Fire Brigade are not even running to stand still as there is less being recruited than the numbers retired this year and they are taking in fewer numbers in 2021 than the usual intake of 48 in previous years.

“There has also been a failure to adequately plan for the fire brigade workforce. An agreement reached in 2015 for a minimum staffing level of 965 has never been reached and recommendations from an agreement brokered in 2019 by former LRC Chairman Kevin Duffy in 2019 between Dublin City Council and DFB has only been partially implemented. Two additional ambulances were introduced in 2020 but there the required increase in staffing for these ambulances has failed to materialise.

“Finally, there has been a failure to meet longstanding commitments relating to equipment. Given the major increase in mid rise and high rise buildings that has being constructed in the city and county in recent years it simply unforgivable that commitments to introduce additional “aerial fire cover” have not been delivered upon. These concerns are all the more stark when we consider that more and more apartment dwellers across this city are becoming aware of very serious fire standard defects in their apartment blocks.”

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