Social welfare payments deducted from striking firefighters

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Robert Troy, has described as unacceptable any attempt by the Department of Social Protection to penalise retained firefighters that are currently receiving social welfare payments, due to an ongoing dispute.

It emerged last week that some firefighters who are on strike have had their social welfare payments halted by the Department of Social Protection.

Due to the limited retainer payment for firefighters, some either have a second job or receive social welfare payment to supplement their fire fighter income

It's understood the Department of Social Protection has, in some cases, blocked or reduced these social welfare payments to retained firefighters, arguing that as they are in industrial action, they are not actively seeking work.

Deputy Troy said: "Our firefighters are an elite frontline service staffed by very dedicated and selfless people, serving their communities around the clock. My colleagues and I in Fianna Fáil are acutely aware of the invaluable service they provide that is essential to their communities.

"I understand that the Department of Social Protection has stopped or deducted payments to retained firefighters as they are in industrial action and not actively seeking employment. This in my view is wholly unacceptable, and I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys to instruct her officials not to penalise the firefighters who are involved in this ongoing dispute. Such tactics are unwelcome and unhelpful in terms of reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

"My party colleague Minister Darragh O'Brien, who ordered the review into retained fire services in Ireland, has remained a strong advocate for our retained firefighters. Minister O'Brien is determined to reach a fair settlement which fully recognises their value and is tirelessly working to ensure this can be achieved. The actions of the Department of Social Protection are unwelcome in this regard."