File photo: Kildare County Council HQ
Kildare County Council has agreed to write to the Government in support of retained firefighters who have been upset by a 1916 medals scheme.
Cllr Sorcha O’Neill brought a motion before the Council on January 29 and it received good support.
Cllr O’Neill said that Naas firefighters had brought the matter to her attention and she proposed that that the Council writes to the Minister of Defence and Minister Joe McHugh to outline their disappointment that retained firefighters were omitted from receiving the commemorative 1916 medal for their contribution to front-line emergency services.
Cllr O’Neill said: “I believe it is only fair and right that retained firefighter personnel also receive the same,” she said.
Cllr O’Neill distributed a letter to Minister McHugh from Stephen McFadden, chairperson of the National Retained Fire Fighters Association of Ireland.
In the letter Mr McFadden said that last year the State, to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, awarded medals to the serving members of the frontline emergency services An Garda Siochana, the Defence Forces, the Civil Defence, the National Ambulance Services as well as the full time and auxiliary fire service.
“Every person who serves in our front line emergency services received a commemorative medal apart from the vast majority of the retained firefighters; over 2000 of us.”
He said this “glaring” oversight “has caused deep hurt” to members who train on a professional basis.
Mr McFadden said it “was not good enough for Government ministers to lay the blame for this serious oversight with the local authorities as they have done to date.”