Independent TD Carol Nolan has described a decision by the State’s almost 2000 retained firefighters to dramatically escalate their industrial action from this Saturday as ‘clear evidence that the so-called mediation process has failed to adequately grasp the depth of anger among members of the service.’
The Laois Offaly TD was speaking after Siptu stated on behalf of its members that all internal communication within the retained fire service would cease except in the case of life-threatening emergencies and that members will implement a rolling closure of stations nationwide every week in an attempt to force engagement from Government on the matter:
“It is nothing short of insanity that this protest and industrial action has still not been resolved to the satisfaction of our retained firefighters,” said Deputy Nolan.
“I have heard the anger first-hand, including when I visited striking members at the fire station in Birr. There is almost a sense of disbelief that it has been allowed to go on for so long in the absence of a genuine political will to break the impasse.”
“This is not some fringe public service that we are talking about here. It is a critical life-saving service. Yet here we are into the third month of this action and there is still no resolution in sight. In fact, if anything, the crisis is deepening.”
“I know that the Labour Court has made a number of recommendations in relation to the dispute, but these have been assessed and rejected by a margin of 82 per cent to 18 per cent. That should have told Government and the Local Authorities that what was being offered was an insult.”
“The alarm is ringing on this issue. All of the political rhetoric at Government level appears to have turned to ash as they wait it out or hope the firefighters will cave. In that respect at least Government will have radically underestimated the level of public support for the firefighters and the resolve among members to finally have issues around pay and conditions resolved,” Deputy Nolan concluded.