At present the Retained Fire Service is struggling to maintain adequate numbers to allow for safe operations with crew numbers in decline in all Counties. This in turn has led to even greater pressure being brought to bear on those Fire-fighters still left in the service. Negotiations with the LGMA broke down as the LGMA have not addressed the core issues of pay and conditions that are driving the current recruitment and retention crises, and specifically the fact that Whole-time Retained Fire-fighters earn approx. €700 per month. For this they must be on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days per year, stay within 3km’s of the station at all times to attend the station within Five minutes of a call.
All of this created a precarious existence for Whole-time Retained Fire-fighters who have no certainty of work hours, rest hours or pay. Whole-time Retained Fire-fighters are seeking a fair salary and fair structures for a very emotionally and physically difficult job that is built within our local communities for the local communities. our local community. Over the years, improvements in fire safety have reduced the number of fire calls. The Government report shows that earnings for retained Fire Fighters are now up to 60% lower than earnings 10 years ago.
The various local authorities are struggling to fill vacant positions and in once county 9 of the last 10 new recruits have left the service.