Dublin Fire Brigade welcomes 35 new firefighters amid staff shortages

Dublin firefighters need to step up their recruitment program to keep pace with planned retirements and promotions, it has been claimed.

he deployment of 35 new recruits to Dublin fire stations this week has been described as “a good start”, with a further 45 expected to begin training next month.

However, Dublin Fire Management have been urged to ‘double their efforts’ to ensure recruitment levels reflect the number of firefighters/paramedics due to retire this year.

Councilor Daithí Doolan (SF) believes Dublin’s fire service needs to increase staff to “at least 1,000” to cope with staff shortages.

“The new signings are a good start to the new year – but it’s only the start,” he said. “Dublin firefighters operated with 965 people, well below requirements.

“Management needs to develop a plan to ensure our fire department is fully staffed and adequately resourced to meet the city’s needs.”

Cllr Doolan said current staffing levels within Dublin Fire Brigade do not take into account the number of staff on long-term sick leave or those seconded to other responsibilities.

Dublin Mayor Alison Gilliland welcomed the recruitment of additional firefighters and the start of a new training program next month.

“I would like to congratulate our new fire paramedics and wish them a long, safe and successful career with the Dublin Fire Service, she said.

“They are joining an effective, efficient and committed service in the city and I have no doubt that they will make a great contribution.”

Last October, firefighters staged a protest outside the Mansion House as crews suffered from exhaustion due to understaffing.

A meeting of Dublin City Council heard there was “overreliance” on overtime to meet the day-to-day needs of fire tenders and ambulances.

It was also claimed that on some shifts there were not enough personnel available to allow for the deployment of all the firefighters.

While the additional recruits and upcoming training program have been welcomed by SIPTU, it is understood that these numbers will be offset by the retirements and promotion of firefighters to officer rank this year.

A union source said discussions with Dublin Fire Management over staffing were ongoing.

It takes about six months to train new recruits, who take courses in areas such as traffic collisions, basic firefighting, hazardous materials and the use of breathing apparatus.

The program includes a 13-week classroom-based paramedic course. When new recruits graduate, they are supervised throughout a probationary period and receive additional training in the resort.

Dublin Fire Brigade said the 35 new recruits will be based at all stations on a full-time basis over four shifts.

Dublin City Council has confirmed a further 45 recruits will begin training on February 7. He said the remaining candidates on the firefighting committee would be offered a position at the next training course in June.

“The June 2022 class will exhaust the current panel of firefighters,” a spokesperson said. “A new recruitment campaign will be launched soon.”