Labour demands Dáil debate on retained firefighters dispute

15 June 2023

Labour TD for Fingal and member of the Oireachtas Business Committee Duncan Smith has demanded a Dáil debate to resolve the retained firefighters industrial dispute.

Deputy Smith said:

“SIPTU, the trade union representing retained firefighters, have issued a stark warning to Government this morning as retained firefighters will begin to resign from the service from the beginning of next week.

“Let me be clear, the blame for this lies firmly at the feet of Government.

“The escalation in industrial action from next week demands serious and meaningful engagement from Minister O’Brien and his cabinet colleagues. What we saw from Government this week was nothing short of outrageous.

“Retained firefighters were promised a significant statement from the Minister and what they received was nothing short of abysmal. For the Minister to float in the media that he was coming with good news and then to give almost the same speech he gave on the matter in November is shameful.

“Successive Ministers have sat on their hands on this issue for far too long. Labour is committed to holding Minister O’Brien to account once and for all for our retained fire service.

“Our brave and hardworking retained fire service are the backbone of communities nationwide, but they have been utterly forgotten by Government. With restrictions on where they can live, how far they can travel, when they can take annual leave and what other type of work they can engage in, these workers have come under enormous pressure, compounded by the cost of living crisis.

“Speaking to workers on the picket line, many say that our cities in particular have become no-go zones for firefighters, who struggle to find affordable accommodation and childcare places.

“Nationwide, fire services are operating on a skeletal basis. With mass resignations anticipated next week, it’s time for Government to see the wood for the trees and back our retained fire fighters and our communities.”

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