Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 457: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the recruitment procedure for Dublin Fire Brigade and other five brigades throughout the country; if any changes have been made to the process in the past five years; the reasons for such changes; if previously existing recruitment panels have been disbanded; if so, the number that have been replaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9590/12]
Question 458: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the numbers recruited by Dublin Fire Brigade and other fire brigades throughout the country broken down by year over the past five years. [9591/12]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 457 and 458 together.
The provision of fire services in local authority areas, including the establishment and maintenance of fire brigades, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and the provision of; training support and guidance on operational and other related matters and capital funding.
The moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service was introduced in March 2009 in response to the financial crisis. My Department operates a delegated sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for implementation of the moratorium in relation to local authorities, and any exceptions to the moratorium in local authorities require sanction from my Department.
Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each City and County Manager is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorities for which he or she is responsible. In this regard, it is a matter for City and County Managers, in the first instance, to ensure that the moratorium is implemented while the appropriate service levels are maintained. In considering sanction requests public safety, maintaining key front line services, and economic issues are given precedence.
Local authorities have been early movers in the public service in terms of staff reductions, moving from 37,243 Whole-time Equivalents (WTE) in 2008 to 29,744 WTE in December, 2011 a reduction of 7,499 WTE. The reduction of staff in local authorities is a net figure, as given the nature of the front line services provided, including inter-alia fire and emergency services, exceptions to the moratorium need to be, and are, regularly approved. In this regard, details of the number of firefighters employed in local authorities before and after the introduction of the moratorium are outlined in the following table.
|*Retained Fire-fighters (Headcount)||*Retained Fire-fighters (Headcount)||Full time Fire-fighters (WTE)||Full time Fire-fighters (WTE)|