Retired Kilmallock Fire Officer comes out in support of industrial action

Greg Conway, a retired Kilmallock fire officer, with 37 years of service, this week came out in support of the current industrial action by his former colleagues in their battle for better terms and conditions in respect of retained fire fighters, writes John Barrett.
In a statement to the Vale Star, Mr Conway said, “I stand 100% behind my former colleagues in their industrial action. I am a current member of the National Retained Fire-fighters Association who understands the workings of this dispute, which has been ongoing since 2001. The service is still being managed under a 1999 agreement which, all sides now agree, is not fit for purpose.
“The current problem for the service is the recruit-ment, retention and welfare of firefighters, and also that the firefighters have to be available 24/7, 340 days per year and live and work within a three kilometres radius of the fire station.
“The current benchmarking that the firefighters are on is also not fit for purpose as they have unique employment circumstances compared to other local authorities. Retained fire-fighters are very profess-ional, highly trained, devoted members of our community but the constraints that they and their family members are put under in this day and age is totally unacceptable. Firefighters walked out of Leinster House in disgust with the response from the Minister for the Environ-ment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan,” the retired fire officer claimed.
“This week we have a rolling dispute which means that 50% of the fire stations will remain closed, while there are plans for all-out strike action, which could close all stations next week. This is very concerning as there is no contingency plan of action in place. Both Kilmallock and Charleville stations were both closed on Wednesday.
“I am now calling on the Local Government Man-agement Agency and the Workplace Relations Commission to commence talks with the retained firefighters and their representatives in order to resolve this emergency. They must bring something worthwhile to the dis-cussions before there is loss of lives and serious property damage caused because of this dispute,” Greg Conway concluded.