MUZZLED!

DUNDALK Fire Service have been effectively “muzzled” according to a local councillor.

DUNDALK Fire Service have been effectively “muzzled” according to a local councillor.

Fine Gael’s Eamonn O’Boyle made the claim in reaction to a letter sent to fire staff throughout the county on Friday by Louth County Council reminding them to “familiarise themselves” with the confidentiality and code of conduct section of their staff handbook.

The section specified, which was enclosed in the letter from the council’s Human Resource department, says that staff are “not permitted to discuss or disclose any information of a confidential nature relating to Louth Local Authorities or its business.”

Confusion over the letter has reigned amongst fire staff since the controversial document was issued on Friday with workers at Dundalk Fire Station initially not providing the media with the daily or weekly fire reports that they usually provide without any fuss.

Sources close to the local fire department insist that the officers do not know where they stand but believe they are being silenced ahead of the possible review of fire services, which would see the local station close from 11pm to 8am daily – a move previously branded as “ludicrous” by fire officers.

Chief Fire Officer Eamon Woulfe admitted to The Dundalk Democrat on Monday that there was “confusion” over the letter but said he had clarified it to officers.

See page 9 for full story