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Fire chief battles to dampen jobs rage

RECRUITMENT curbs on the appointment of 25 new fire officers to Dublin Fire Brigade have been defended by the service.

The restriction, which means applicants for the jobs must have worked for one of Dublin's four councils for at least a year, has been slammed by the public.

Gerry Geraghty, executive manager of the Dublin Fire Service, said the restriction, which came about because of the recruitment moratorium, had been agreed as "one element of the Croke Park deal with Siptu and Impact last year".

He said the service had 50-60 vacancies at the moment and they wanted to fill 25 posts "on a cost-neutral basis", which would mean they would not be increasing payroll costs.

Because of this the applications for the 25 front-line emergency crew positions had to come from staff already employed by the four Dublin local authorities, he explained.

The positions are being advertised in Dublin City Council's First Post staff circular.

Mr Geraghty stressed that although the posts were just being advertised internally, successful applicants would still be required to meet the tough medical and physical criteria required for the job. All Dublin Fire Brigade emergency personnel are trained firefighters and paramedics, meaning they can switch from fire brigade to ambulance duties.

He also said a further 28 posts in the Dublin Fire Service would be advertised within two to three weeks and would be open to external applicants.

SALARY

The new staff would be required to work in the control room of the service for the first three years and would then be eligible to apply for firefighter jobs. He confirmed that the control room staff salary is less than that of a firefighter. These staff take calls and despatch ambulances and fire brigades.

Mr Geraghty, who was speaking on RTE's Liveline show, also said that a panel of people, who had passed a range of tests and interviews and were deemed fit and eligible for firefighter jobs, had been disbanded because of financial cutbacks.

Callers to the programme were critical that the positions were not open to external candidates.

csheehy@herald.ie


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