Role of fire and rescue services during Easter Rising to be commemorated

Medals recognising the role played by the fire and rescue services during the Easter Rising will be handed out to crews who served across Ireland in the rebellion's centenary year.

Members of other services were honoured for their roles and given commemorative medals during the 1916 centenary commemorations in 2016.

Government chief whip Joe McHugh lobbied colleagues over the last two years in order to secure the honour for fire service personnel too.

Soldiers during Ireland's centenery celebrations in 2016.

He said: "Fire crews, the men and women who work tirelessly day in, day out to save lives, are a vital part of the local authorities around the country.

"They will now be recognised with a national award in the same way as members of the Defence Forces and An Garda Siochana have been.

"The public service that is provided by fire crews is unique.

Their work on the ground during the Easter Rising, particularly in Dublin, saved so much of the capital city and its heritage.

"I have spoken to many serving fire officers in my Donegal constituency and in other constituencies and there had been a feeling of hurt. This decision will put that right.

I do not believe there was any intention to exclude them, more a reflection of the unique way fire departments in our country are organised across the regions.

All fire and rescue services staff who served in 2016 will receive the medal.

- PA

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