There was an intense anger among firemen on the picket line outside Trim station when Meath Live visited earlier today.
The anger is directed at government who keep making promises of a pay increase for the retained firefighters but never honouring them.
One of those on picket duty said, ‘A new recruit gets 99c an hour for being on call and that goes to more than a euro when he answers a call out think about that for a minute and you will understand why we are where we are today.
‘That will also help you understand why most of us have to take second jobs you couldn’t live properly otherwise.
‘There’s a huge amount of guilt when we have to refuse to respond to a call out because we are on strike and the government is putting lives at risk through forcing us into striking.
‘At face value there is cover in place, when we are on strike Navan takes Trims calls and vice versa, but in this job speed in getting to the incident is critical and obviously a unit from Trim can reach a fire or car crash in Trim quicker than a Navan crew can.
‘We would be aware of one accident since we went on strike where no units were available to attend which saddens us but it illustrates the problems the government are causing.
‘We are getting huge support from the public, drivers stop and shout encouragement and we are constantly getting supplies of water, buns, biscuits and sandwiches.
‘As for politicians apart from Sinn Féin man Johnny Guirke, who came down and heard our complaints, nobody has been near us, that is something that will be remembered,’
Guirke told Meath Live,
“Retained Fire Fighters have today commenced industrial action at Retained Fire Stations here in Meath and right across the state.“If the government continues to refuse to address the core issues at the heart of the recruitment and retention crisis in the Retained Fire Service, members of the NRFA will be reluctantly forced to close half of all stations in one week’s time. “And, if no meaningful attempt is made by the government to address the ongoing difficulties, all Retained Fire Stations will close in two weeks’ time. “I know from my dealings with members of the Retained Fire Service that they are the most dedicated professionals who regularly put their lives on the line in the course of their duty. They do not want to be in this position but feel that they have no choice.
“I am calling on Local TDs to stand up for fire fighters in their community, and the people they serve, and to urge Minister Darragh O’Brien to act now to resolve the crisis. “Failure to do so will put the lives of fire fighters and the public in Meath at risk.
‘’The retained Fire Fighters put other families ahead of their own when they commit to this service, we need to show them a commitment for their sacrifices.