Threat to NI fire and rescue cover

Published Thursday, 04 September 2014
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Stormont budget cuts to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service could result in front line cover being reduced across the entire region, UTV can reveal.

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The Health Minister, who has responsibility for the service, has told fire chiefs they must reduce their budget by 2.5%.

That will amount to £2m for this year to a service which already has a budget shortfall of £3m.

Dermott Rooney of the Fire Brigades Union said his organisation would fight to defend the service.

He said: "We believe this will impact services across Northern Ireland.

"It will affect rural stations and stations in larger towns and cities. If you reduce fire cover, if you change the way fire cover is delivered to try and save money there will be an impact, we believe, on front line service delivery and on firefighter and community safety."

Northern Ireland has almost 70 fire stations, staffed by more than two thousand people and there are concerns over jobs losses with part-time firefighters most at risk.

Dermott Rooney added: "The Northern Ireland public deserve the best in terms of a fire and rescue service.

"We believe we are the best fire and rescue service in the UK and we are prepared to defend that.

"Our members are angry and are prepared to defend the service and we don't believe the public has the appetite to see the fire service eroded."

East Londonderry MLA John Dallat said it was important to retain front line services.

He said: "We can't see enough in terms of the ordinary firefighters those who are at the front of the service.

"Those people are the salt of the earth and they need to be reassured as well that the service they are carrying out is not threatened with cuts," the SDLP representative said.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
mark in lisburn wrote (109 days ago):
making cuts try starting at the top with over payed managers cutting back on company cars big bonus payments in hospitals get rid of ward managers who do not have medical knowledge and what they are doing give jobs to persons who know what they are doing
Colin in Lisburn wrote (109 days ago):
Its like the old saying " you never miss the water until the well runs dry' surely the safety of the people in Ulster is paramount in trying to introduce these so called cuts.
Paul W in Carrickfergus wrote (109 days ago):
Is it just me or are them lot in stormount a bunch of space cadets, we would be better off in the stone age than having that lot of dipsticks incharge of our country. They are only incharge we wont stand up to them like people used to, its our own fault.
jay in derry wrote (109 days ago):
Madness , Peoples safety should be first
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