Thursday, 9 May 2013

Censorship of Wicklow Fire Fighters is Wrong- Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has sharply criticised a
gagging order that has been imposed on members of Wicklow Fire Service
by Wicklow County Council. The Brigade order was signed by the Chief
fire Officer Aidan Dempsey on 29th April, it bans members of the fire
service talking to the media or identifying themselves as members of
Wicklow Fire Service.

Cllr Brady said "I am very concerned at the level of censorship that
has been imposed on members of Wicklow Fire Service by the County
Council. The gagging order was signed off by the Chief Fire officer
Aidan Dempsey, it bans any member of the fire service identifying
themselves as firefighters on the Internet or during discussions on
social media. Any person found to be in breech of the order may be
subject to Wicklow County Councils grievance and disciplinary

"I believe that this Brigade Order could well be an infringement of the
rights for freedom of speech for members of the fire service. I know
all firefighters are proud to serve their community and are well
respected by the communities they serve, they proudly wear tee shirts
and jackets off duty showing they are members of the fire service. The
gagging order bans staff from taking pictures in the fire stations or
at the scene of a fire or at a training event. This is simply a tactic
being employed by the council to ensure they control what message
comes from the fire service and the council, the timing of the Brigade
order says it all really. It was served little more than a month
before the high profile court case against the Council relating to the
deaths of firemen Brian Murray and Mark O' Shaughnessy. The order also
bans fire fighters talking to public representatives." continued

The Sinn Féin councillor concluded "Unfortunately the council seem to
believe they are operating the secret service and that the fire
fighters lead a double life keeping their job top secret. Restricting
firefighters from the Internet and websites such as Facebook or
LinkedIn is shortsighted, censorship and ultimately a restriction of
Freedom of speech which is protected by Article 40.6.1 of the Irish
constitution." Ends

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