Firefighters: Reform calls ignored

FIREFIGHTERS have attacked the Department of the Environment and said if Wednesday’s blaze started in Dublin rather than Wicklow their two colleagues would still be alive.

The firefighters were reacting to the deaths of Brian Murray, 46, and 26-year-old Mark O’Shaugnessy in a factory fire in Bray.

Chairman of SIPTU’s national firefighters’ committee Brian Murray, who is not related to either victim, said the service was based on 60-year-old structures rather than on modern risks.

He said the 2002 Farrell Grant Sparks review, commissioned, at a cost of €200,000, to modernise the service, called for reform.

However, it has not been acted upon and instead of uniform, national standards, 37 local authorities decide there own response to risks.

Mr Murray said: “If this fire had occurred 50 metres inside the Dublin border instead of 500 yards inside Wicklow there would have been an aerial [high ladder] appliance sent out and the fire would have been fought above the roof. Nobody would have entered the building or been in there when the roof collapsed.”

SIPTU is a member of steering committees set up after the FGS report, but Mr Murray said progress has stagnated. A Department of the Environment spokesman said the steering committees had not sat in “quite a while” but “work is ongoing to complete the first phase of the programme”.

Environment Minister John Gormley said he would wait for the outcome of investigations into the men’s deaths before deciding what was required.

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