NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
As the Isle of Man government battles to balance its finances, in response to a reduction in receipts from a VAT agreement with the United Kingdom some years ago, front line public services continue to be targeted.
We reported how plans to close main post offices in the Islands capital Douglas and the second largest town Ramsey were recently put on hold following a public outcry.
There was similar public concern when information was passed to the media about possible reductions in Fire Service cover.
The Isle of Man has excellent fire service provision. Following the Summerland Fire Disaster in the early 1970s there was a major investment in fire safety on the Island and that has continued for many years.
Douglas, the Isle of Man’s capital, has a large fire station manned by both full time and retained personnel. All other main towns have good retained cover and there are also a number of fire stations in rural areas.
Public concern at possible reductions in personnel led the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to swiftly issue a statement saying that no cuts were planned and that the documents released were simply an internal discussion paper.
Following this the Chief Fire Officer added his voice to the Departments going a step further and slamming the leaking of the paper.
Now it is clear that the discussion paper could have, if developed, led to an impact on those who work in the service.
The fire fighters also have an absolute right to ‘freedom of expression’ under International Labour Organisation (ILO) rules as set out in the Declaration of Philadelphia (made in the concluding months of World War 2) and which restated the core founding principles of the ILO.
ILO Convention No 87 again enshrines this principle and in the preamble to the Convention it says quite clearly:
‘Considering that the Declaration of Philadelphia reaffirms that “freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress”;’
The Manx government is a signatory (via the United Kingdom) to Convention No 87 and the Manx government also sets great store on its adherence to International Law
So if the Chief Fire Officer and the DHA introduce discussion papers which are in general circulation to the workforce then they should not carp if these are made public. In that context his comments are, to use his words, ‘regrettable’.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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