Budget build-up shortens the political silly season

World of Politics with Harry McGee

The annual run-in to the Budget is getting longer and longer; the media equivalent of adverts for Christmas starting at the end of the summer. Mind you, I was in Dunnes last week and noticed that they have their Halloween stock already in, two and a half months before the actual event.

So Budget season officially kicked off in the village of Glencorrib on the borders of Galway and Mayo last week with a visit of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the village.

It was a stop in a day-long tour for the Fine Gael leader of Galway and Mayo – a lovely event as people from the local community congregated in the community hall.

Varadkar inspected the impressive GAA grounds. The parish priest presented him with a picture of the only inland lighthouse in Europe. It is on the banks of Lough Corrib within the parish.

There was a topical element to the visit. Three firemen from the retained fire services from Claremorris, Ballinrobe and Westport were there to talk to Varadkar about their plight.

This situation has been ongoing for quite a number of years.

Those attached to stations on a retained basis get a basic salary package of €18,000 and are then paid according to the number of call-outs.

They have been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year. They don’t get holidays per se. The conditions are sub optimum, to put it mildly. One of the three firemen told Varadkar they could not recruit locally.

It has gone to the Workplace Relations Commission which made a determination, but it has not yet resolved the dispute. Varadkar promised the firemen that the Government understood that maybe one size fits all did not apply to smaller rural situations and promised that the Government would respond within weeks if not days.

Pictured: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Glencorrib last week with, among others, Mayo Deputy Alan Dillin and Galway Senator Seán Kyne.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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