Concerns raised over staffing crisis within Dublin Fire Brigade

ireland
Concerns Raised Over Staffing Crisis Within Dublin Fire Brigade Concerns Raised Over Staffing Crisis Within Dublin Fire Brigade
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SIPTU are set to meet with Dublin Fire Brigade management next week amid the ongoing staffing crisis within the emergency service which predates the pandemic.

Almost 200 staff members were out of work on New Year's Eve, putting a severe strain on the service and resulting in 12 appliances being off the road.

Currently, there are 107 staff members unavailable as they are either isolating or are a close contact.

Chief Fire Officer Dennis Keeley said training has been curtailed, and new recruits have been fast tracked in a bid to ease pressure.

“We have in essence closed off all training to direct staff to an operational focus position and maintain our numbers as high as we can,” Mr Keeley told Newstalk.

“I suppose our principal aim is to ensure that there is a fire appliance in every fire station in the city and in the county to ensure service delivery continuity.”

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DFB have a derogation that allow essential personnel to self-isolate for shorter periods, however that has not yet had to be implemented.

“We have been monitoring that, there is obviously a risk associated with activating that derogation, it’s a point of last resort. We haven’t been there, but I would say we came close to it on New Year’s Eve” Mr Keely said.

“We will activate it only as a last resort, but it is a tool available to us.”

'Under-resourcing'

On Monday, Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan tabled an emergency motion at a DCC meeting calling for staffing shortages to be addressed.

“Covid is not the cause of the staffing crisis,” Cllr Doolan said.

“The cause of the staffing crisis is under-resourcing. The cause of the staffing crisis is because there are not enough staff in place.”

Concerns have been raised over the staffing issues within the fire service for months.

In July last year, SIPTU said the situation is a “direct consequence of the senior management in Dublin City Council and Dublin Fire Brigade not having a proper plan in place for the recruitment of firefighters.”

Previously, there had been calls for the minimum number of staff to be increased from 965 to meet demand. According to Cllr Doolan, there should be over 1,000 firefighters in the service.

On top of the current strain on services, it is expected that there will be more shortfalls in staffing with a number of retirements due.

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