Full-time firefighting service removed from Ballincollig

Billy Crowley, union representative with Cork City Fire Brigade, also said there has been “a 25% reduction essentially in fire cover for Cork City”
Full-time firefighting service removed from Ballincollig

The number of full-time on-duty firefighters in Cork City Fire Brigade has been reduced from 24 to 19. File photo: Niall Carson/PA

Ballincollig Fire Station has been closed as a full-time service by Cork City Council, reducing the number of firefighters on duty at any one time from 24 to 19.

The station became part of Cork City Fire Brigade in May 2019, as part of the city boundary extension. The facility traditionally operated as a retained fire station, where retained firefighters worked part-time, were drawn from the immediate local community, and were paid only when they responded to an emergency call.

The station moved to being crewed on a full-time basis in September this year when a number of retained firefighters were successfully recruited as full-time staff, and a crew of full-time firefighters were moved to Ballincollig “as a temporary measure to help accommodate the training of new recruits”, according to Cork City Council.

Billy Crowley, union representative with Cork City Fire Brigade, said the reversion to retained station status will greatly increase the burden on the remaining two fire stations in Anglesea Street and Ballyvolane, as the number of on-duty firefighters has been reduced from 24 to 19. 

He said the number of fire pumps now available to firefighters has been reduced from four to three, “a 25% reduction essentially in fire cover for Cork City”.

Mr Crowley said the Ballincollig station provided vital cover as far as Macroom when needed, which will now have to be covered by Anglesea Street Station. Cork City Council said fire service cover remains in place for the whole of Cork city.

Mr Crowley said contact has been made with the Workplace Relations Commission to try to reach a resolution between the fire brigade and council, but he said firefighters will also be meeting with Siptu officials to discuss next steps with regard to industrial action.

He said while a solution is sought to the dispute, the crew should be maintained at Ballincollig and this would be particularly advisable as 18 new recruits are due to come on stream in December, which will greatly alleviate any staffing pressures.

Cork City Council said it has “engaged positively with fire brigade personnel to ensure that the best cover remains in place for the city’s citizens”, and that it also looks forward to welcoming the new recruits.

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