Retained firefighters from stations around County Cavan demonstrate outside the Courthouse on Monday afternoon ahead of the AGM of Cavan County Council.

Fire stations close on alternative days

Protest over better pay and conditions for retained firefighters.

Firefighters in Cavan today (Tuesday) began a series of rolling, one-day work stoppages as they ratchet up their protest for better pay and conditions. The move affects half the county’s stations at any one time.

From 8am on Tuesday, June 13, five of the 10 stations in Cavan - Cootehill, Bailieborough, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet and Killeshandra - closed their doors with others set to follow suit tomorrow (Wednesday).

The action coincides with representatives joining a national picket outside Dublin’s Leinster House, and comes a day after retained firefighters demonstrated outside the Cavan County Courthouse ahead of the monthly meeting of elected members.

The first phase of industrial action began last week with a work-to-rule, and unless the dispute over pay and conditions is resolved between now and next Tuesday, June 20, this could escalate to an all-out strike.

Between now and then however Cavan Town will close Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday; Cootehill on Thursday, Friday and next Monday; Kingscourt on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; Bailieborough on Thursday, Saturday and next Monday; and Virginia on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday.

Ballyjamesduff will close Thursday, Friday, next Monday; Ballyconnell on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday; Belturbet on Thursday, Friday, next Monday; Killeshandra on Thursday, Saturday, next Monday; and Dowra on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

There are currently around 3,000 firefighters nationwide, two thirds of which are represented by SIPTU in their demand for a better work / life balance and better conditions in order to retain and recruit staff.

It’s estimated that almost 60% of those in retained fire services likely to leave in three years, as irregular hours and non-permanent nature of work takes toll, and union rep for the Cavan Town station, Cian Donohoe, says on the picket line “is the last place we want to be.”

Read the full report in this week's Anglo-Celt newspaper.