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Clare County Fire & Rescue members training in Ballinrobe today. Denis O'Connell

Firefighters have been given the thumbs up to go on strike

The government wants to make fire crews smaller.

FIREFIGHTERS HAVE VOTED overwhelmingly to authorise strike action if plans to reduce crew numbers goes ahead.

Siptu represents some 1,700 part-time retained firefighters who are employed by local authorities across the country.

Around two-thirds of all firefighters in Ireland are retained firefighters who are not full-time but are fully trained paid on a per call basis.

Today, they have voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 85% to 15%. The vote in favour of strike action was 95% in favour.

Full-time firefighters are also opposed to the changes and were yesterday also balloted on strike action. The results of that balloted will be known next month.

Siptu’s Brendan O’Brien says that the union will now form a strike committee and will wait for a response from the Department of Environment.

He says the union now has a mandate for strike action which will go ahead if the department “tries to impose its will” by reducing crewing levels without consultation.

Siptu has previously expressed concern that a reduction in crewing levels will put both firefighters and the public at risk.

Read: Dublin firefighters still considering strike action over ambulance changes >

Read: Firefighters believe proposed changes to fire engine crews will put public at risk >

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