26/03/2002

Fire fighters take their case to Health Minister’s door

Northern Ireland’s fire fighters have brought their concerns about ongoing attacks on their staff to the attention of the Stormont Health Minister Bairbre de Brún.

The Fire brigades Union (FBU), supported by Laganvalley UUP assembly member Billy Bell held a meeting with Ms de Brún late on Tuesday afternoon to highlight the serious and escalating nature of attacks on staff and appliances.

Speaking before the meeting FBU spokesman Jim Barbour said: “These ongoing attacks are getting worse. There were 800 attacks last year and it’s just not acceptable anymore.”

Mr Barbour said they were meeting the Minister to discuss firstly the possibility of launching a series of outreach initiatives, which would educate community groups about the fire service. The second issue to be discussed Mr Barbour said, involved asking the Minister to support the fire services bid for a much needed cash injection.

In recent months the UK Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions gave fire services in Scotland €18 million and €53 million to England and Wales. The cash boost came about due to the efforts of a new government think-tank called the ‘New Dimension Group’ which was established to build up emergency services procedures in case of a terrorist attack like September 11. Northern Ireland has not received any such money according to Mr Barbour.

Mr Barbour said fire services in Northern Ireland, which were much depleted and had undergone sustained attacks over the past year, needed this money to build up services “immediately”.

Mr Bell said he was giving his support as an assembly member because he felt, like Mr Barbour, that Northern Ireland should get a cut of this money from Westminster’s purse. He said: “If there was an attack on Sellafield, the impact would effect Northern Ireland’s shores just as much as areas like Cumbria.”

Mr Bell also said he was concerned about the attacks on the fire brigade and said he was going to ask the Minister what she intended to do to improve the situation. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 February 2019
Other News In Brief
Record Number Of Children In Care In NI A record number of children were recorded as living in care in Northern Ireland last year, as revealed by the Department of Health. Over 3,000 youngsters were in the system, with the majority of them being looked after for less than three years.
08 February 2019
PSNI Officers To See 2% Pay Rise
A two percent consolidated pay increase has been awarded to the federated and superintending ranks of the PSNI, and has been backdated to 01 September 2018.
07 February 2019
NI Parties Left Reeling After PM Visit
Political representatives in Northern Ireland have been left divided once again and calling for further Brexit assurances following a visit from Prime Minister Theresa May this week.
14 February 2019
Green Party's Mal O'Hara: Gay People Need No Cure
A Green Party representative for north Belfast has spoken out to tell so-called conversion therapists that gay people need no cure. Malachai O'Hara's message comes ahead of a film screening at Townsend Presbyterian Church on Thursday 14 February.
28 January 2019
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Set To Retire
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has announced his intentions to retire later this year. Mr Hamilton has served in the force for 34 years and informed the Northern Ireland Policing Board today, 28 January, that he will retire at the end of June. He has served in the role as Chief Constable for five years.