Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen comments on firefighter’s SIPTU strike

The SIPTU firefighter strike outside of the Gorey Fire Station

There is currently a nationwide Firefighter’s SIPTU strike ongoing across the country…

Pickets, which were formed today (Tuesday), have been placed at fire stations across the country as retained firefighters take strike action.

The rolling work stoppages have closed up to 50% of fire stations in the service.

The firefighters, along with SIPTU, are calling for better pay, better conditions, and an improved work-life balance.

One of the major difficulties with being a firefighter is the fact that they must be within a 5km radius of their station at all times.

Sinn Féin TD for County Wexford, Johnny Mythen has said that retained firefighters across the county deserve urgent action on incomes and conditions to protect the crucial services they provide.

As retained firefighters escalate industrial action this week, Deputy Johnny Mythen called on government TDs to stop paying lip service to the service’s recruitment and retention crisis, to increase the fixed incomes of firefighters, and to increase staffing levels in order to build and maintain a fit-for-purpose service. 

Speaking to Wexford Weekly ahead of a Sinn Féin motion on the issue, Teachta Mythen, said:

“Urgent government action is needed to save the crucial services provided by retained firefighters. Without action on incomes and conditions, the future of these services are in doubt, putting lives at risk.   

Having engaged with some of the Retained Firefighters, their demands are not extortionate in any way. They provide professional frontline services, yet their pay and conditions do not reflect the high risks and very often they face traumatic and dangerous conditions while bravely providing lifesaving services to the public.

“There has been a shocking lack of action and political leadership from the government to resolve these issues, which has led to the retention and recruitment crisis, and TDs here in County Wexford need to speak up for the communities they represent.  

“We need these services to keep the people of County Wexford safe, and retained firefighters deserve better pay and a better work-life balance.  

“It is time for the government and Minister Darragh O’Brien to stop paying lip service to retained firefighters, and to sort this issue now to ensure communities continue to have crucial fire services.

“The demands being placed upon retained firefighters and their families are unsustainable.

“The government must urgently engage with representative bodies acting on behalf of the retained firefighters to avert an escalation of industrial action.

“Sinn Féin in government would urgently intervene to increase the fixed incomes of firefighters and increase staffing levels in order to build a fit-for-purpose service.”

The firefighters have a lot of support with this strike. Given the importance of their role across many communities, not many across the land would begrudge the firefighters for improved pay, conditions, or quality of life.

Things may be escalated further should a resolution not be reached. It could mean an all-out strike next Monday which would see all fire stations across the country close.

Jason Redmond
Jason Redmond

From Gorey, Jason is the owner of Wexford Weekly. He is also a post-primary English and History teacher.

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