5,000 signatures reached
To: Minister Darragh O’Brien
Support your local Retained Firefighters
Support the retained firefighters in Ireland and give them a fair working wage & proper work life balance
Why is this important?
There are currently around 3,000 firefighters nationwide. Some two-thirds of this number — over 2,000 — are employed as retained rather than full-time firefighters. Retained fire service staff are paid an annual retainer to be available for call-outs, but their pay depends on the number of incidents they attend.
They are allowed to work part-time jobs to supplement their income, but do so knowing that their second job must be within 2.5km of their fire station.
Retained firefighters must also live within that same distance from the fire station they are attached to in order to respond “within five minutes” of being paged to report to work.
“Retained firefighters are on call 24/7. They can never have a drink, can never stray too far from home, because unlike full-time firefighters, they don’t work shifts,”
“They have to be available constantly.
Remember the Covid 2km restriction rule in 2020 when every person in Ireland couldn’t travel outside of that radius? Welcome to the world of a retained firefighter. You are a prisoner in your own town.
“Employers are understandably reluctant to hire retained firefighters on a part-time basis because we are firefighters first and foremost and we have to down tools when needed.
“Previously, firefighters have been very, very reluctant to go on strike, but this time we are willing to do so. Every person who is a firefighter wants to be a firefighter. There is no difference between a full-time firefighter and a retained firefighter. The training is exactly the same. It costs €50,000 to train a firefighter and we are losing over 100 retained firefighters each year.
“With or without a strike, the fire service is in compete crisis. Even if the strike does not go ahead as proposed, around 60pc of firefighters plan to quit the service within the next 18 months.”
One of the main reason members were quitting “in their droves” was because it is practically impossible for retained firefighters to obtain mortgage approval because of their employment status. Another “major problem” was their lack of pension entitlements compared with full-timers.
“Firefighters are always there to help any and every member in society in their darkest hour. Now every firefighter is calling for help but no one is listening. Retained firefighters feel so let down by government agencies."
“All firefighters want is to be firefighters. No one wants to leave the fire service, they want to serve their communities with dignity, passion and professionalism, as they have done for decades. But their commitment is no longer sustainable unless there is a full reform of how the fire service is delivered in Ireland.”