Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (453)

Dara Calleary

Question:

453. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the consequences of a case (details supplied) at the European Court of Justice for the operation of fire services in each area; if there are discussions or proposals to close fire stations in local authority areas either as a consequence of the judgement or in other circumstances; and his plans for the operation of fires services by local authority. [28610/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises and equipment for use by fire service personnel, is a matter for individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003. My Department through the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, assists fire authorities on an on-going basis in meeting their statutory responsibilities.

Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993, concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (the Working Time Directive), lays down minimum safety and health requirements for the organisation of working time, in respect of periods of daily rest, breaks, weekly rest, maximum weekly working time, annual leave and aspects of night work, shift work and patterns of work. Implementation of this Directive is transposed through the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, which comes under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

I understand that the concepts of ‘working time’ and ‘rest periods’ as provided for in the Directive were the subject of a recent judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The judgment of the Court was noted at my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Board meeting of 13 September 2018. My Department is aware also of cases which have been lodged with the local authorities connected to this matter. As employers, local authorities are represented by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and it is my understanding that a number of cases have been referred to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in this context. The National Directorate in my Department will support the LGMA as appropriate in working towards a resolution of these WRC cases.