CONCERNS persist in relation to staffing issues at Kilmacthomas fire service which have not yet been resolved. There has been ongoing controversy and growing anger in Mid County Waterford over the constraints being placed on the local fire service due to staffing levels. At the October Comeragh District meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr John O’Leary (FF) sought an update on the situation.He highlighted the importance of the fire service for the local community.Cllr O’Leary said he was aware that the issue had recently come before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
In response, Director of Services (Emergency Services) Ivan Grimes said the WRC conciliation process has not yet concluded and he would not be commenting publicly on the matter.
He reiterated that arrangements are always in place for situations where a retained fire station is not available to respond to calls, saying that cover is provided in such cases on a predetermined basis by the nearest station.
Rural stations such as Kilmacthomas and Portlaw have generally employed eight staff members and, traditionally, four members were required to be ‘on call’ while four were ‘not on call’ at any given time.However, the current requirements seek a fifth person to be ‘on call’.When numbers fall below five, the service is declared ‘off the run’ which means that crews cannot respond to an emergency call-out.Concerned retained firefighters in Kilmacthomas say the numbers required to be ‘on call’ at any given time aren’t practical due to current staffing levels.They say they have been willing to respond to incidents but have not been allowed to due to the staffing rules. On Saturday night September 8th a serious road traffic incident took place outside Bank of Ireland on the Main Street in Kilmacthomas. As Kilmacthomas Fire Station was ‘off the run’ at the time due to staffing levels, two units from Dungarvan and a unit from Portlaw had to respond to the incident instead.
The roof of the car was removed and one person was cut from the vehicle due to suspected head and back injuries.