Northern Ireland fire chief steps down after 32 years

Northern Ireland’s Chief Fire Officer, John McClelland, has announced that he is to retire.

Mr McClelland, who has been involved in the Fire Service for 32 years and who has occupied the position of Chief Fire Officer since 1996, told the monthly meeting of the Fire Authority in Derry on Tuesday March 26 that he was leaving and that he felt it was time to “step down.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr McClelland said: “I’ve been involved in the Fire Service for 32 years now. I have initiated a major development programme, which is part of a major government modernisation process to bring public sector services up to speed and I think I’ve made my contribution to the job. I really feel that it is time to go and hand the reigns over to someone who can bring the service forward.

“My years in the service have been very eventful, sometimes tragic and overwhelming but very rewarding. I have a lot of job satisfaction and I enjoyed working alongside my colleagues who I believe work in one of the most honourable professions there is.”

Mr McClelland’s retirement will take effect from 30 June and a selection process has been initiated to find his replacement.

Last year the Northern Ireland Assembly presented the Northern Ireland Fire Service with an award in recognition of its service over the past three decades.

An illuminated scroll was presented to Chief Fire Officer John McClelland in July last year by Assembly Speaker Lord Alderdice in tribute to the sacrifice made by fire fighters over many years. (AMcE)

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