'I can't afford a pay cut of even one euro'
Published 27/02/2013 | 04:00
CHENELLE Mullally (34), a part-time firefighter based in Tramore, Co Waterford, says she cannot afford a pay cut of even another euro.
She said she will lose about 10pc of her wages, which are roughly €20,000 a year after tax, under the proposed cuts to premium pay and overtime.
"Up until last February, I was able to draw social welfare payments, but that payment was axed," she said.
The mother-of-one said her family is dependent on her wages because her husband is unemployed.
"I'm lucky to have €20 to put in the car to get to the fire station every week," she said.
"Even a cut of a euro is going to affect me greatly. I'm up to my eyes in debt, and we can't qualify for a mortgage.
"It's frustrating because the job we do is very rewarding. We had a fatality in a car crash in our locality last week, and all those who attended were retained firefighters.
"If you ask anyone in the town if they value us, they'll say yes. There could have been another fatality in that crash only we were there."
She said there were too many 'chiefs' in the Irish fire service – 31 chief officers and 350 assistant chief fire officers "on a savage amount of money", overseeing 3,000 firefighters.
This compared with just one chief fire officer and two assistant firefighters overseeing 2,000 firefighters in Northern Ireland, she said.
Ms Mullally is a member of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association, which is affiliated to the Psychiatric Nurses Union.
She does not have a vote on the deal because the union is not an Irish Congress of Trade Unions affiliate.