Concerns raised as firefighters in Waterford fail to turn up when called

Independent Councillor raised a significant safety issue in relation to the provision of fire services in the Comeragh area at the District monthly meeting for April.
Concerns raised as firefighters in Waterford fail to turn up when called

Kenneth Fox

Firefighters have expressed concerns for public safety and the potential for serious injury to Councillor Declan Clune, who says there is clear evidence that the County Fire Service is in crisis in terms of delivery and staffing.

As the Waterford News & Star reports, the Independent Councillor raised a significant safety issue in relation to the provision of fire services in the Comeragh area at the District monthly meeting for April.

Having seen documents that show that retained firefighters are not showing up when they are paged for an incident he said: “This has happened on a couple of occasions recently, again I've seen the documentation, and the implications I think are very serious.

“For example, if there was a house fire in Portlaw and only two firefighters show up that fire tender can’t leave the station, obviously enough for health and safety reasons, which is perfectly correct.

"In that instance they have to wait for another tender to arrive,” he explained. The nearest station is Kilmacthomas, which has its own challenges in terms of staffing.

“More often than not Kilmacthomas is not in a position to support Portlaw, so the result then is a fire tender would have to come from Carrick-On-Suir.”

If there was a serious fire in Portlaw, he questioned what kind of impact the current situation would have.

“Over the last two years there have been ongoing issues with the various fire services in the area, and I don’t think it is confined to our area. I’ve reason to believe that it affects other areas as well,” he said.

Cllr Clune said he had tried to address the issues with the executive, but was told him it was an executive function and not a reserved function, meaning it has nothing to do with councillors.

He was of the opinion that there was no appetite to change things, and felt there was a divide between the city and county services.

However, he acknowledged the ongoing recruitment efforts for retained firefighters in Portlaw, Kilmacthomas and Dunmore East.

Meanwhile, Councillor Liam Brazil spoke of the importance of the issue.

“It is a very serious issue if they were called in the morning and if there was nobody to attend,” he said.

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