Justice Minister says frontline workers should feel safe and protected while doing their jobs

Date Published : September 5th, 2020    Published By : admin

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee has said frontline workers should feel safe and protected while doing their jobs.

Speaking this afternoon at Collins Barracks in Dublin to mark National Services Day, Minister McEntee told EmergencyTimes.ie that she ‘wants to make sure that our frontline workers are supported and protected at all times’ and if emergency and frontline workers feel there isn’t enough support or help to them, ‘we cold potentially provide that help to them.’

National Service Day celebrates the work, efforts and commitments of our frontline, emergency, medical, security, search & rescue and voluntary services throughout the state.

This year, while events were restricted and scaled back as a result of the ongoing pandemic, fulltime, retained, voluntary and reserve personnel around the country celebrated their national day of commemoration by sounding sirens and flying their flags outside their stations and bases around Ireland. Many also posted videos and photos on their social media platforms as part of the celebration.

Photo: Declan Keogh / EmergencyTimes.ie

The National Services Day committee held a much smaller and socially distant ceremony in Dublin today. The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD joined Assistant Garda Commissioner Barry O’Brien, Dublin Fire Brigades Chief Fire Officer Denis Kealy, Director of the National Ambulance Service Martin Dunne, the NSD Chairperson Seamus O’Neill and a small number of other service personnel at the ceremony.

Photo: Declan Keogh / EmergencyTimes.ie

Speaking this afternoon following the ceremony, Minister McEntee told EmergencyTimes.ie that she ‘wants to make sure that our frontline workers are supported and protected at all times’ and if emergency and frontline workers feel there isn’t enough support or help to them, ‘we could potentially provide that help to them.’

“When people go out to do their jobs, whether they’re a member of An Garda Síochána, the fire brigade or a community or voluntary organisation, nobody should be treated in a disrespectful way and certainly nobody should feel that they themselves are in danger, or at risk. We take these incidents very seriously and I want to make sure as Minister for Justice that our frontline workers are supported and protected at all times.”

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD speaking to media at National Services Day. Photo: Declan Keogh / EmergencyTimes.ie

When asked what that means, whether it means severe penalties for people who commit those crimes, the Minister said “What we need to make sure is if we see challenges over the next few weeks or months or if we feel that over the last few months, particularly with Covid, given that it has been a challenging time, that our frontline workers need additional support or help, or if they feel that there isn’t that support or help to them that we look at that and we could potentially provide that for them but this is about making sure that when they go out to do their job, no matter what it is that they’re doing that they feel safe, they feel protected and that they can do their job and first and foremost that’s about protecting people and for many of our frontline workers, its about saving lives” she said.

Chairman of the National Services Day committee, Seamus O’Neill said today's socially distant ceremony marks the beginning of a new era and going forward, he hopes ‘the community will feel part of the service and the services will feel part of the community.’

NSD Chairperson Seamus O'Neill. Photo: Declan Keogh / EmergencyTimes.ie

While the ceremony was very small today, he thanked everyone for working so hard behind the scenes to make it happen, and to everyone around the country who also rowed in from their services too. “We observed all the protocol, and we did everything to ensure that everything went according to plan, the committee as a unit, they surpassed themselves.

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