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 Firefighters, Michael Sisk, Amber Watch, Finbarr Sisk, Blue Watch, Will Crowley, Amber Watch with his three-year-old son Ethan and Richard O'Donovan, Amber Watch, with their colleagues outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Firefighters, Michael Sisk, Amber Watch, Finbarr Sisk, Blue Watch, Will Crowley, Amber Watch with his three-year-old son Ethan and Richard O'Donovan, Amber Watch, with their colleagues outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
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Cork firefighters protest for pay restoration

CORK City firefighters have sent a warning to city management that they are prepared to strike if their pay restoration agreement isn’t honoured.

Union reps for the disgruntled firefighters said that it is ‘the nuclear option’ that they don’t want to pursue but declined to rule it out.

Firefighter, Andy Stoddart and his daughter, Evie, outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Firefighter, Andy Stoddart and his daughter, Evie, outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Almost 60 off-duty members of the force turned out to protest at City Hall last night, with passing motorists and fire engines beeping horns and sounding sirens in support.

The rest of the on-duty members offered their support for the unofficial action but remained inside the Anglesea Street base.

Members of the brigade presented an open letter to members of Cork City Council, outlining their issue over unpaid backpay amounting to about €500 per person per year.

They say they are the last firefighters in the country not to receive the increase, though City Hall has maintained that it will not pay while the unofficial action continues.

Billy Crowley, a representative for the fire brigade, said members are considering escalating the action.

“People are happy with the support that we are getting from the public,” he said. “Our feeling is that where we are now is unfortunate but we didn’t create this situation. We didn’t breach an agreement. We were left with no option but to take action and now to take further action to get them to comply with a written agreement that they gave us.”

Retired Firefighters, Richard Hegarty, Ray Canty, MP O'Mahony, Frank Scannell, Donal Mulcahy, supporting their former collagues, outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Retired Firefighters, Richard Hegarty, Ray Canty, MP O'Mahony, Frank Scannell, Donal Mulcahy, supporting their former collagues, outside City Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Notice of the intention to ballot has been served, with this due to take place at the beginning of July.

“The mood on the ground is that agreements have been breached and that needs to be rectified,” he said.

“[Striking] is the nuclear option. Nobody wants to go there — us or the people of Cork — but if that’s the way the tracks are laid then that’s the way the tracks are laid and there’s very little we can do about it.”

Mr Crowley said support is strong for the action: “People are hopeful management will honour the agreement so that we can get back to business as usual.”