Emergency services personnel attacked responding to bonfire callout in Clare

Clare County Fire and Rescue has launched a review of its procedures due to an escalation in anti-social behaviour in the Cloughleigh area of Ennis
Emergency services personnel attacked responding to bonfire callout in Clare

Pat Flynn

Clare County Fire and Rescue is reviewing its procedures for responding to callouts following a recent escalation in anti-social behaviour in one area of Ennis.

On Saturday night, firefighters and gardaí attended the scene of a bonfire in the Cloughleigh area of the town and were fortunate to escape uninjured after they came under attack from stone-throwing youths.

While dealing with the incident, stones and other missiles were thrown at personnel and their vehicles.

The side window of one fire appliance was smashed while the vehicle’s windscreen was also damaged.

Photo: Clare County Fire and Rescue Service

A fire officer who was in the vehicle at the time escaped uninjured. The vehicle sustained other damage also and, as a result, has had to be taken out of service until repairs are completed.

Firefighters were struck by an array of missiles including rocks, bottles and sticks, but no injuries were reported.

Personnel extinguished the fire and retreated from the scene for their own safety. Gardaí were informed of the incident and attended the scene but were also targeted.

Those involved were said to have included young children and teenagers, while a number of adults stood by and watched.

Locals have had to call the fire service and gardaí to the area on a number of occasions in recent weeks, with locals reporting that youths have been using bonfires to burn household rubbish and other items.

Escalation

Fire crews from Ennis have attended over a dozen calls in the area in recent times. During the majority of these cases, they and their appliances have been attacked.

Gardaí and food delivery companies entering the estate have also reportedly been targeted.

Chief fire officer for Clare, Adrian Kelly said: "We have attended in excess of 10 small rubbish fires in the Cloughleigh area over last two weeks.

"Due to anti-social behaviour while attending these incidents, fire personnel wear full fit kit, including helmets and face shields while travelling to these incidents.

"Last night, a fire appliance window was broken while attending to such an incident. This is completely unacceptable behaviour, and the matter is being treated very seriously.

"Because of this escalation of anti-social behaviour, the Fire Service will be reviewing its procedures. This may result in a longer attendance time due to the necessity of ensuring it is safe for our personnel before proceeding to incidents in this area."

A Garda spokesperson confirmed: "Gardaí responded to an incident of criminal damage incident on the Childers Road in Ennis (on Saturday) evening. Damage was caused to a window of a Fire Service vehicle, but no injuries were reported. Enquiries are ongoing."

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