Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (502)

Michael Healy-Rae


502. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the retirement age of retained firefighters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40637/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

As the Deputy outlined, the retirement age for retained firefighters is 55, with provision for an annual extension up to the age of 58, subject to a formal application process, including a compulsory medical assessment. The retirement age for full-time firefighters is, in general, 55.

The retirement ages reflect the legitimate requirement that firefighters should be capable of satisfactorily meeting the physically demanding nature of the role. In this regard, pursuant to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989, every fire authority, as an employer, has a statutory duty to avoid placing employees at unnecessary risk.

The roles of Chief Fire Officer and Assistant Chief Fire Officer are qualitatively different from and, hence, not comparable to that of a firefighter.

In general, any changes to the terms and conditions of employment proposed by either employing organisations or employee representative associations are discussed and negotiated using the established industrial relations processes. I have no plans to review the situation in respect of retained firefighters outside of these well understood and long established processes.