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01/02/24 - Donegal County Fire Service are hiring


Donegal County Council has today (1st February, 2024) commenced a recruitment campaign to hire Retained Firefighters for the Retained Fire Stations in County Donegal. 


What is a Retained Firefighter?

A Retained Firefighter is a professional firefighter, who is paid an annual retainer for being available on a 24/7 basis and also paid for actual hours worked. They must  live and work within 3km of their assigned fire station and at a location acceptable to the Chief Fire Officer. They carry an emergency pager or alerter with them at all times and respond to their station when it goes off.


Donegal County Council operates 15 Retained Fire Stations around the county, located as shown below.



Following a review of the Retained Fire Service nationally, a new approach to the service has been adopted, focusing on improved recruitment and retention, structured time off and an increase in guaranteed pay. As a result of the new agreement, all Fire stations will now have a minimum of 12 firefighters, who, when this complement is reached, will broadly operate on a week on/flexible week arrangement in relation to attending emergency calls.

To achieve the increased crewing level in stations, Donegal County Council has commenced a county-wide recruitment campaign for Retained Firefighters. It is intended to recruit up to 45 new Retained Firefighters to the existing county complement of 147 Retained Firefighters.


What is the salary for a Retained Firefighter?

Effective from 1st October 2023, the minimum guaranteed salary for a new retained firefighter is €18,905 gross, or approximately €362 per week, rising to €22,203 gross per annum, or approximately €425 per week, as show on the table below.


In addition to the annual retainer, retained fire fighters are paid an hourly rate of

  • €23.75 per hour from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday
  • €47.50 per hour at all other times (public holidays attract the higher rate of pay)


Retained Firefighters also attend a 2-hour weekly on-station (drill night) training and undergo regular refresher training in certain areas to maintain their skills. Drill night training is paid at a rate of €47.50 per hour.


It the busier stations i.e., those above 100 call per year, Retained Firefighters could earn more than €30,000 per annum.  It is also important to note that most Retained Firefighters have a second job or are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance.


Application forms are available in the Recruitment section of the Donegal County Council website The website also includes an information document produced by the Fire Service entitled ‘Why join your Local Fire Brigade’. The document gives information on what is involved in becoming a Retained Firefighter, i.e. the application process, the suitability assessments, the training courses for new recruits, etc.


If someone is interested in becoming a Retained Firefighter, and meet the basic requirements for the role, they should apply and undergo the suitability assessments to see if the job is for them. This allows individuals to get a flavour for the job without giving up their own job. Being an equal opportunities employer, the Council is looking for people from all sectors of the communities that is serves.


As part of the current recruitment campaign, the Fire Service is organising Open Nights in all Retained Fire Stations to help and inform people considering applying for a job with the Fire Service. Posters and flyers will also be distributed in the locality of stations around the county.


Completed applications should be submitted by email to [email protected] no later than 12:00 noon on Monday 19th February 2024.