Clare Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin Voice Concern Over County Fire Service Plan

Published: 21 April, 2014

Cathal O'Reilly at Ennis fire station

Cathal O'Reilly at Ennis fire station

Sinn Féin's Ennis election candidate Cathal O'Reilly has said he and his party have serious reservations about the new plan for the fire service in Clare. The plan was endorsed by County Councillors at a meeting last week.

Mr. O'Reilly told us he is concerned that frontline personnel have expressed fears over their own safety and that of the public. "When it comes to public safety we have to act with caution. These plans are based on a new government policy proposal which is the subject of discussion at national level. Unions are engaged in those talks at present, which is why they did not engage with the council here. I feel councillors should have waited for the outcome of those talks".

"When you have fire fighters, their union and the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association all coming out against this, I think we should all be concerned. These are the people at the coalface and they need to be listened to. We have met with fire fighters in the last few days. Amongst other concerns, they have told us that it is unsafe to have four personnel at a fire. They fear they will not have sufficient back up from colleagues if problems arise which will place their safety and that of the public, at risk. These are people who already risk their lives for us on a daily basis. We even heard talk of possible industrial action- that would be a disaster. It would be shameful if fire fighters had to engage in industrial action to try to safeguard their safety and that of the public".

"If elected I will certainly be proposing that this decision be put on hold pending the outcome of talks at national level. After that we can properly assess whether or not to scrap the decision altogether".