SIPTU representatives have said today (Friday, 28th July) that fire service management must take sole responsibility for the chaotic scenes seen in fire stations around the country following the commencement of strike action in the retained fire service. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Divisional Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin, said: “There appears to be a general strategy of non-cooperation on the management side from the get-go of this dispute. Phone calls are not being answered when firefighters call the station from the scenes of incidents, and management is not deploying the required number of appliances to incidents. This is unacceptable. SIPTU retained fire fighters are on strike and have been engaged in hours of talks with management locally to ensure there is a reliable system of emergency cover, but they just can’t get cooperation from the management side. This is putting lives at risk.” “Our members are coming off picket lines to manage life-threatening incidents and being pressurised to take responsibilities above and beyond the call of duty because management refuses to take responsibility. This cannot continue, and it will result in a backlash from firefighters who will not be able to continue to provide the same level of universal cover without the involvement of management grades. This means that emergency cover can no longer be provided from every station.” SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “The job of the retained fire fighters is hard enough without this kind of irresponsible behaviour from the management side. This ‘head in the sand’ approach will only harden attitudes and make the resolution of this dispute more difficult. It is time now that the Government take the emphasis off their own holidays and focus their minds on resolving this dispute. This level of disregard for the retained fire fighters is beyond disgraceful.”