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Fire staff fuming over Red alert callouts

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By Sean Moriarty

Fire fighters have raised serious concerns this week over new rules that they have to stay at home during a Red weather warning but are still obliged to arrive at their local station on time if an emergency occurs.

The row centres on newly introduced work practices that were brought into place ahead of Storm Eunice last week.

A high-powered meeting between Kerry Fire and Rescue staff, Kerry County Council management and union reps was ongoing as the Killarney Advertiser closed for press late yesterday evening (Thursday).

The meeting began at 2pm yesterday and was ongoing at 6pm. Union officials from all Kerry-based fire stations attended the meeting as did Moira Murrell, the Chief Executive of Kerry County Council.

Members of Kerry Fire and Rescue claim they are being forced to stay at home and only attend callouts during Red warning weather alerts when their pager goes off.

In the past members would stay in their local fire stations - on standby - during a Red warning.

Firemen are contractually obliged to arrive at their local fire station within in five minutes of a fire call.

Their concerns are multilayered. They are worried that they cannot respond in time to a callout in the event of fallen trees on their way to the station.

They are angry that they are being forced to drive their own private vehicles to work during a Red warning at a time when their employer, Kerry County Council, is advising people not to travel.

An alternative, which was in place before, is to allow firemen to stay at their local station for the duration of the Red warning where basic sleeping and wash facilities are available on-site.

During last week’s Storm Eunice volunteer members of the Civil Defence stayed overnight at local fire stations but paid staff were told to stay at home and await callouts.

Local firemen believe this is a cost saving effort by Kerry County Council as the volunteers do not have to be paid.

If rescue staff stayed for prolonged standbys at their local stations then their per-hour wages could cost more than their callout fees.

“Kerry County Council and Met Éireann are telling people to stay inside, yet in the event of a pager going off they expect retained fire fighters to get up in the middle of the storm and drive to the station,” one local fireman told the Killarney Advertiser.

Road Insurance

He was also concerned about his road insurance in the event of an accident on the way work during a Red warning and felt his employer should be liable if he was involved in an accident as they would have instructed him to drive on dangerous roads as opposed to the safer option of staying at the local fire station.

Kerry County Council issued a statement on the issue to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Kerry Fire Service is a retained fire service with members available to provide a 24-hour emergency service and is mobilised to respond to emergencies in line with established protocols,” said the statement.

“Planning and coordination for Storm Eunice was extensive and involved detailed safety assessments across the organisation, based on established processes and procedures. The health and safety of all staff remains paramount.

“During this weather event, Kerry Fire Service and the full complement of Local Authority emergency and support services remained available to respond to emergencies in the normal way.

“The response to all weather emergencies are reviewed in their aftermath and that will also happen in this case. There will be engagement with staff unions as required and in keeping with established industrial relations structures.”

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Festive jumpers and a Kerry jersey brings fundraiser to €10k

By Michelle Crean Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up! A Kerry football […]

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By Michelle Crean

Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up!

A Kerry football jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team is up for grabs via a fundraising link once a donation is made to the Presents for Palliative fundraiser.

On Friday eight local schools including Holy Cross Mercy, Killarney Community College, Presentation Monastery, Lissivigeen, St Brendan’s College, St Brigid’s, St Francis Special School, and St Oliver’s
swapped their uniforms for their most colourful festive gear with funds going to help the amazing services in the Palliative Care Unit/Kerry Hospice Foundation.

“The day took place across the schools involved last Friday (December 2) and looks like it has been a success,” teacher Elaine Moynihan from St Brendan’s College told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The donations from the schools are still being counted but students look to be on their way towards making their goal of €10k.”

The iDonate ‘Fundraising For Kerry Hospice Foundation’ has been very helpful in this regard, she added.

“Anyone who donates via the link and leaves their name will be in with a chance to win a Kerry jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team which will be presented to them before Christmas by a couple of members of the team.

“This was organised by the students involved in the fundraiser as a way to say thanks, and give back, to the members of the community who have gotten involved in the event – the link is live until December 18 and the draw will be made the following day.”

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Killarney punter secures €50,000 in EuroMillions draw

A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’. The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was […]

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A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’.

The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was valid for Tuesday night’s special draw.

The Killarney winner was one of 10 who each secured the €50,000 windfall.

“The National Lottery can reveal that three players in Dublin, three players in Cork and one player in Kerry, Roscommon, Kildare and Wexford all scooped the special raffle prize which was the seventh of 12 draws in the National Lottery’s ’12 Draws of Christmas’ promotion,” said a National Lottery statement.

The eighth draw will take place tonight (December 9) where 10 more players are guaranteed to win the amazing prizes.

Meanwhile, a player in Belgium scooped the EuroMillions Jackpot prize worth an astonishing €142,897,164.

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